What is Kodomo-no-hi?
Children’s Day on May 5
Kodomo-no-hi (こどもの日 / Children’s Day) is a festival day on May 5, the last in the Golden Week series of holidays.
The day is mainly for boys while Hinamatsuri on March 3 is for girls. (Kodomo-no-hi was a boys’ festival in the past, but we call it Children’s Day nowadays.)
What is Hina Matsuri? Girls' Festival on March 3 Hina Matsuri (ひな(雛)祭り/ Doll's Festival) is a girls' festival in J[…]
Children’s Day is a day to show respect for children’s individuality and to wish them happiness in life. And children are expected to thank their parents for looking after them.
How to write “Children’s Day” in Japanese?
Normal Japanese: こどもの日
Romaji: Kodomonohi / Kodomo-no-hi
These days people prefer to use こども or 子ども because 供 originally means servant or possession.
What actually people do?
A family that has son/sons display a special samurai doll (五月人形 / Gogatsu Ningyo / May Doll) or war helmet (兜 / Kabuto) at home for their children.
Some families also display cloth streamers in the shape of carps on a tall pole. The carp-shaped streamers are called Koinobori (鯉のぼり / Carp Labarum).
These dolls and streamers are displayed to wish their children health, happiness and success in the future.
On the day, people eat Kashiwa Mochi (柏餅), a rice cake wrapped with a oak (kashiwa) leaf. Oak trees symbolize the continuation of the family.
Where to see the displays?
While many places hold their Hina Doll exhibits in March, it might be a bit harder to find places to see May Dolls or Kabuto helmets. But some places such as shopping malls or old towns/preserved districts display them. Some are free to enter, so check them out in your area.
And many parks or countryside areas hold Koinobori festivals, so it can be easy to see Koinobori swimming in the air across Japan.
Are you interested in purchasing some?
Check out on Amazon!
War Helmet (Kabuto):