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We have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, where’s our Children’s Day?

celebrating children's day in japan

Children’s Day, or Kodomo No Hi, is celebrated on  the fifth day of the fifth month and is a part of Golden Week. (Other Golden Week holidays include the Greenery Day and Showa Day, which both stem from the former Emperor’s Birthday holiday.) It’s a day to celebrate children and their innate happiness as well as being a day to express gratitude to mothers.

families fly carp flags for children's day in japan

It’s traditional for families to fly carp streamers, or koinobori, outside their homes as the carp is a symbol of strength and success. (And according to some legends, carp that swim upstream become dragons.) Dads get the biggest and topmost black carp, then moms get the red one, then kids in order of age. Inside their homes, families display warrior dolls, again, signifying strength.  It’s also traditional to eat rice cakes stuffed with sweet bean paste and wrapped in an oak leaf.

It became a national holiday in 1948 and used to be celebrated as Boys’ Day, but it now includes all children A complimentary Girls’ Day or Doll Festival is celebrated on March 3.

Children’s Day festivities tend to center around the wish that kids should grow up to be healthy and strong.

If you’ve got some Japanese heritage you want to celebrate, consider making a warrior helmet and sword out of a newspaper.

Does your family celebrate Children’s Day?

Photos by eien no dreamer and Law Sew via Flickr

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