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When East Meets West: Children’s Day In Japan |


Commentary by Hank F. Miller Jr.



May 5 Children’s Day corresponding to the girls day in March to Momi-no-sekku,or 6a00d8341bf7d953ef01156ff02a98970c-800wi Peach Festival for girls on March 3,this day used to be called Tango-no-sekkuor Boy's Festival.After World War II, May 5 was designated as Children’s Day and made a national holiday.This is also known as the "day of the shobu (iris)."Or "Martial Prowess."The Idea being that,when faced with challenging moments,boys will learn to face difficulties in a decisive,manly fashion.

Rites performed on this day are performed with such wishes in mind: Families with sons display warrior dolls  that are dressed in battle helmets and armor, and koi nobori (carp streamers)are set to fly on long bamboo poles out of doors in the garden .The carp has the power to fight its way up fast flowing streams and even waterfalls and therefore, represents the courage and strength expected of boys.The carp streamers are beautifully painted with various colors on silk to resemble the carp fish swimming up streams or waterfalls.

In addition, mochi treats such as chimaki steamed rice cakes are (triangular,wrapped in a leaf) and kashiwa (oak leaf) mochi are eaten,rice cakes are stuffed with sweet bean paste.Also iris leaves are put into a hot tub when boys bathe, this special bath is said to be good for the health.This event is called "day of the tango (i.e; boy’s day) because in Chinese words for"five"and"horse"are homophones,and this was originally celebrated on the day of the horse during the first part (tan) of the fifth month.The custom of decorating with chimaki comes from Chinese folk lore. 


Warm Regards & Best Wishes from Kitakyushu City,Fukuoka,Japan.

Enjoy a really great spring season.

Hank F. Miller Jr.