May 5th is Boys’ Day, also called Children’s Day in Japan! Learn the History of Golden Week & Tango No Sekku in Japanese culture! Subscribe►
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Every year on May 5th the people of Japan celebrate a holiday that honors the young boys across the country, and is known as Kodomo no Hi. Which means Children’s day in English. And in some cases referred to as Boys’ Day. It is the companion holiday to Girls Day which is celebrated on March 3rd that honors young girls. Though the emphasis is on the boys.
Koromo no Hi can be celebrated by all children.
It is the final day in a series of holidays known as Golden Week, which begins with Showa Day on April 29th and continues with Constitution Day and Greenery Day, leading up to Boy’s Day on May 5th.
The history of Boys’ Day goes back to the Heian period, over 1000 years ago when the holiday was called Tango no Sekku, meaning “Double Fifth” and was set on the fifth day of the fifth month of the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. Traditionally it marked the start of the rainy season in Asia.
The people of the Heian period borrowed some traditions from the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival held on the same day, but elements of Japanese culture were included. The legend of Kintaro was adopted as a model image for young boys to look up to and become. Kintaro was a young boy who was immensely strong from birth who grew up deep in the mountain forests and battled and defeated monsters and demons and could tame wild animals, including a giant carp. Kintaro would grow up to become a samurai and was one of the four guardians of the legendary Master Raiko.
Families raised flags above their homes of Carp fish, called Koi in Japanese. Carp were chosen because of the legend of Kintaro, but also because of an ancient legend in which a carp that can swim up a waterfall will transform into a dragon.
The flags called Koi Nobori represents the members of the family living in that house. The top flag is black, for the father who leads the family, followed by a red one for the mother. A blue fish comes next for the first born son of the family with other flags for younger siblings following.
Families present their young boys the gift of a replica samurai helmet, called a Kabuto. Its meant to symbolize the family’s wish for their son to grow up healthy, and to become strong and powerful men someday. Just like Kintaro.
In 1948 the government of Japan set the holiday to the western Calendar date of March 5th and officially changed the name from Tango no Sekka to Kodomo No Hi, as a holiday for all children which allowed them to show gratitude towards mothers for giving them the gift of life
It’s a wonderful holiday and tradition that celebrates the importance of sons in a household and shows the importance of young boys growing up into men.Share: