Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Holidays - Boys' Day!

As touched on in a previous post, today (May 5th, Japan time) is Boys' Day, officially called Children's Day こどもの日 but in practice meant for a family's sons.

Carp banners, called koinobori 鯉幟, are flown and displays of a traditional helmet are shown in the family home, along with a Kintaro 金太郎 doll (Kintaro is a famous folktale character known for his strength from a young age). The idea with the displays and holiday is to wish for blessings and a young son's growth into a strong, healthy man.

A neat detail I just learned reading up for this post: the koinobori flags show the family men, with the father at the top, eldest son next, and then each younger son underneath. I saw these flags every year in Japan but never realized there was a pattern to the number and colors.

(Another account says the red one is the mother, but as the first source gives the children's song sung along and I can read the Japanese, I agree with the first source that the red one is a kid and not the mom.)

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