Children's Day (Japan) Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children's_Day_(Japan)

Children's Day
Koinobori: The black carp (Magoi) at the top represents the father, the red carp (Higoi) represents the mother, and the last carp represents the child (traditionally son), with an additional carp added for each subsequent child with color and position denoting their relative age.[1]
Official name子供の日 (Kodomo no hi)
Observed byJapan
SignificanceCelebrates children's personalities and their happiness
DateMay 5
Next time5 May 2023 (2023-05-05)
Related toGolden Week (Japan), Tango no Sekku, Duanwu Festival, Dano Festival, Tết Đoan Ngọ

Children's Day (子供の日, Kodomo no hi) is a public holiday in Japan which takes place annually on May 5 and is the final celebration in Golden Week. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948, but has been a day of celebration in Japan since ancient times.


The day was originally called Tango no sekku (端午の節句) – one of the five annual ceremonies held at the imperial court – and was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth moon in the Chinese calendar. After Japan switched to the Gregorian calendar, the date was moved to May 5.[2] Until 1948, Children's Day was known as Boys' Day (also known as Feast of Banners), celebrating boys and recognizing fathers, as the counterpart to Hinamatsuri, or "Girl's Day" on March 3. In 1948, the name was changed to Children's Day to include both male and female children, as well as recognizing mothers along with fathers and family qualities of unity.[3][4]


On this day, families raise the koinobori, carp-shaped windsock (carp because of the Chinese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon and flies to Heaven,[5] and the resemblance of the waving windsock to swimming fish), with a black carp for the father, a red or pink for the mother, and one carp (usually blue, and sometimes green and orange too) for each child. Traditionally, when celebrated as Boys’ Day, the red koinobori was for the eldest son with blue and additional colors for younger brothers. Families may also display a samurai doll, sometimes riding on a large carp (often representing the Japanese folk heroes Kintarō or Momotarō), and/or the traditional Japanese military helmet, kabuto, due to their tradition as symbols of strength and vitality.[4]

Kashiwa mochi (sticky rice cakes filled with red bean jam and wrapped in oak leaves) and chimaki (sticky sweet rice wrapped in an iris or bamboo leaf) are traditionally served on this day.[4][6]

Akumaki (name in Kagoshima Prefecture, of a dish called more widely in Japan chimaki (ちまき)), the Japanese version of the zongzi, eat in China for double five festival.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Perkins, Dorothy (1991). Encyclopedia of Japan: Japanese History and Culture, from Abacus to Zori. Facts on File. p. 46. ISBN 9780816019342. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan Encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 48943301, p. 948
  3. ^ "Kid's Corner: Children's Day". Consulate General of Japan in New York. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Kigawa, Michiyo. "Kodomo no hi: Children's Day Celebration". About Japan: A Teacher's Resource. Japan Society. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "端午の節句と5月人形" [Tango no sekku and May dolls] (in Japanese). Japanese Doll Association. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Louie, Elaine (May 1, 1991). "For Children's Day, Sweets, Of Course". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Chimaki (ちまき)". Food in Japan.

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