Japanese Children’s Day 5/5 (Kodomo no hi)

If in Vietnam there is International Children’s Day 1/6, in Japan, children also have a private holiday, when every family starts flying carp flags fluttering in the wind. It is the national day of 5/5 – Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi) is a day to wish all children to be healthy and happy.

Children’s New Year in Japan called Kodomo no hi, which takes place on May 5 every year, is one of Japan’s National Holidays and is part of Golden Week. Called Golden Week because at this time in Japan there are many holidays such as the Birthday Anniversary (Showa no hi) April 29, the Anniversary of the Constitution (Kenpou Kinenbi) May 3, Environment Day (Midori no hi) 4/5, and Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi) 5/5. The holiday period of Golden Week, which lasts from 7 to 10 days, has become a valuable time to gather with family and play with Japanese children in today’s hustle and bustle life.

 Japanese children have fun on Children’s Day

The origin

This day was formerly known as Doan Doan Ngo (Japanese is Tango no sekku), took place on 5/5 lunar calendar. After Japan switched to using Gregorian calendar, this date was also changed to May 5 of solar calendar. However, the Lunar New Year – May 5 of the Lunar Calendar is still a traditional holiday in countries and regions such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Vietnam. kill bugs).

The day before was also known as Boys ‘Day, while Girls’ Day (Hinamatsuri) was celebrated on March 3. However, this day has become a festival for all children across the country. Japan and was recognized by the Japanese government as the National Festival in 1948, changed its name to Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi) to pray for the happiness of all children and express gratitude to mothers.

Congratulation poster Kodomo no hi


Children’s Day 5/5 is associated with the colorful Koinobori carp flag image (in Japanese, Koi means carp, Nobori means flags, banners) longer than 3m hung on high poles in front of the balcony or in the yard.

The origin of these carp flags comes from an ancient Chinese legend when the carp swam across the violent Yellow River to turn dragons. Therefore, the image of the carp crossing the dragon chemical gate has become a symbol of strength, the courage to overcome the waterfall, difficult to achieve success in life. The custom of flying the carp on the Children’s Day of every Japanese family is also to wish for the health of the children as well as the success of carp.

In some houses, the carp is hung to represent each family member, usually they will hang the black carp at the top representing the father, followed by the red carp representing the mother. , and blue carp represents the baby boy. Some families hang enough carp according to the number of their family members, each with a different color so very colorful and colorful.

  Carp flag

In addition to carp fishing, families also exhibit Kintarou dolls (Han: Kim Thai Lang, a child hero in Japanese legend, famous for his incredible strength as a child, like Saints). Giong of Vietnam) rides a large carp, wearing a helmet of a boxer (called Kabuto). The helmet (Kabuto) and boxer Kintarou are symbols for a healthy and strong boy.

Kintarou and boxer hat

In addition, Japanese people also make sticky rice cakes (called mochi) with red beans, wrapped in oak leaves (kashiwa) and sticky rice cakes wrapped with bamboo leaves (called chimaki cakes). Oak and bamboo also symbolize strength and a successful life.

Red bean glutinous rice cakes wrapped with oak leaves and glutinous rice cakes wrapped with bamboo leaves

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