May 11, 2009

Children's Day

May 5th ... Kodomo no Hi (or Tango no Sekku).
Children's Day was established as a national holiday in 1948.  

Originally it was a holiday to respect boys, pray for their happiness AND give thanks to mothers.

(There is a separate day for girls on March 3rd :  Hinamatsuri or Momo no Sekku)

Now that Mother's Day is a part of Japan's 
gift giving culture, Children's Day is focused more on children.  Since Girl's Day is not a national holiday there is sometimes controversy on 
why 'boy's day' is a holiday... SO these days most events held on this day are for both girls and boys.

However, the "traditional" decorations for Children's Day are for boys: the Koinobori (carp flags) and helmets that were used back in the days of the Samurai.

Since I do not have any children I don't have a real set of these decorations but I do have a small furoshiki that I use as tapestry to celebrate this day.
The helmet is at the bottom left ... On the bottom right is a taiko (Japanese drum).
Here is a picture of real Koinobori...the picture is blurry because I spied the flags on a mountainside!  The wind was perfect, the carp flags looked as if they were swimming in the air!

and this is a unique Koinobori in the making, at a park in Takarazuka.

Children were making these yellow pieces of material that the park "rangers" were adding unto a rope (like a clothes line) forming the shape of a carp.
Why a fish, and why the carp?

Well, it seems to be a lucky fish.


It was the only fish that was able to swim up a waterfall (in China) and successfully become a dragon.

My next post will be a little bit more on what I saw in the city of Takarazuka and a very unique boy!


Butternut Squash said...

Hello there! When each of my boys were born, friends of ours in Kobe send us carp for Children's Day. They are so beautiful. Thank you for the information.

I'm looking forward to your post on Takarazuka. I went to see the play "Oscar" there when I was 15. Certainly a different cultural experience.

Delwyn said...

Hi Tulsa,
Japna still does tend to be sexist doesn't it?

Carp play a big part in the diet, culture and art of Japan - I must google the significance...
Thanksfor the interesting post.

I_am_Tulsa said...

Butternut Squash, Wow, you saw Oscar at Takarazuka! That must have been a really "neat" experience!

Delwyn, Ah yes...Japan is working on their gender issues BIG TIME. I totally forgot that carp is also eaten in Japan! lol
I don't eat it carp and the Mr of our household doesn't like the flavor (he says it tastes like dirt?!), so we are a carp friendly family ;-)