May 5th is the national holiday known as, Kodomo no Hi 子供の日 (Children's day) in Japan. It is a day to celebrate the health and happiness of children. Until 1948 the holiday was called Tango no Sekku 端午の節句 and honored boys. Although this holiday has became known as, Children's Day, many Japanese still consider it a Boy's Festival. On the other hand, Hinamatsuri ひな祭り, which falls on the 3rd day of March 3, is a celebration for girls. Families with boys fly Koinobori 鯉のぼり (carp-shaped streamers) in the hope that they will grow up healthy and strong. The carp is a symbol of strength, courage and success. In a legend, a carp swam upstream to become a dragon. The Japanese proverb, Koi no takinobori 鯉の滝登り, Koi's waterfall climbing), means, to succeed in life. Warrior dolls and warrior helmets called, Gogatsu-ningyou, are also displayed in a boy's house for this holiday.
In Aichi Prefecture the town of Iwakura is known for its koinobori making history. In the winter and early spring you can find the hand dyed koinobori being rinsed in the cold river. This is called nobori aria. To learn more about this visit this informative site about this 400 year old family industry. Read an interview with one of these skilled craftsmen.
At Sakura Gakuen this holiday is always celebrated with gusto and creativity. In recent years some families have shared their heirloom 8 meter Koinobori and gogatsu-ningyou (helmets). This is often the day for class photos. Crafts and food are always a part of the celebration. Manju from Osaka-ya, just up 10th street from the school, is also a staple of Kodomo no Hi as well as Hinamatsuri.
This year Sakura Gakuen's Kodomo no Hi (Children's Day) cultural celebration will be held on Saturday, May 13. This is a family event and ALL school families are invited. Please wear yukata (summer cotton festive comfortable robes) if you have them (students, families and Sensei). It will be a fun filled day for all as we learn about Japanese culture and history, and share the experience that makes Sakura Gakuen such a great place for our children to learn Japanese.