March 06, 2016
In Japan, May 5th is a national holiday called Children’s Day. This holiday focuses primarily on boys, whereas March 3rd is a day to celebrate girls. While May 5th has historically been a day to pray and celebrate children’s growth, the national holiday was officially declared by the Japanese government in 1948.
On May 5th it is customary for parents to display Koinobori (carp streamers) in the garden of their house or from their balconies. People usually display Koinobori starting at the end of April until the 5th of May. The Koinobori represent the kois swimming up a waterfall and symbolize male success. Another common practice is for people to display samurai armor. Some families display an entire suit, while others prefer to display only the helmet.
The traditional food eaten on May 5th is kashiwamochi. Kashiwamochi is mochi with sweetened red bean paste inside, wrapped in a kashiwa leaf. Mochi is made from mochigome, a special kind of rice, with is stickier than a regular rice.