In the last post, I talked about Hinamatsuri, or the festival for girls. Though this is quite an important part of Japanese culture, it cannot be denied that there is another similar festival that puts the nation at a standstill – Kodomo no hi. Kodomo no hi is actually Children’s Day and takes place on the 5th of May – yes, yesterday. It is considered a National Holiday and is meant to celebrate children (of course) and their varying personalities and to wish them happiness.
It was not always known as Children’s Day, however. Prior to 1948, when it was changed to Children’s Day and proclaimed a National Holiday, this day was called Tango no Sekku, or Boys’ Day. This was also known as the Feast of Banners.
The reason behind the Feast of Banners tag is that tradition dictates that families fly fish banners or fish kites on this day. These fish are actually koi and the banners have come to represent the hopes of the parents for their children – in particular, their sons. Koi fish are known to be full of energy and courage and they can swim against strong currents.
Today, Children’s Day is celebrated all over the country for both boys and girls. Many Japanese communities outside of Japan also celebrate with festivities of their own. Indeed, those fish kites flying are a sight to behold.