Every year in Japan, May 5 is the Children’s Day. We put up carp streamers, display samurai dolls or samurai’s military helmets. Here we’re showing you one of our Children’s Day festival in Tokyo.
Usually we put up Koinobori, carp streamers in front of the house and this one is hung along the riverside in Tokyo. These streamers are owned by local people and this year, more than 100 are flying in the sky!
Carps are stong fish living in the river and some legends say that carps go up water falls to be dragons. We put up carp streamers wishing our children be strong like carps. Also, streamers are often referred to family members. Big black one is father, red one is mother, and other small ones are children. Generally at home, we hung a pole with 3 or 5 streamers.
These streamers are all hung by local volunteers. A lot of work has been done and the streamers are here only for 3 days!
Traditionally, Hina Doll Festival on March 3 is a girls’ festival and Children’s Day on 5 is a boys’ festival. On the Children’s Day, inside the house or shop windows, Kabuto (Samurai warrior’s helmet) or Gogatsu Ningyo (Samurai dolls) are displayed. This represents parents’ wish that their boys will be tough and strong, also they’ll be protected by these warrior’s helmets.
We eat Kashiwa-mochi on Chldren’s Day. It’s a rice cake rapped by oak leave, sweet bean paste (anko) is inside. Oak leaves don’t fall until the new leaves grow, so we believe it represents prosperity of family, Mochi for Kashiwa-mochi is rather chewy, it can be a good daily snack. We don’t eat leaves but it gives mochi a good smell.
If you are in Japan, try to find Koinobori, Kabuto, or Kashiwa-mochi!
Let’s travel around Japan with us!