Kw-logo-smaller

Children’s Day

May 28, 2011

May 5 is Children's Day in Japan, when families celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children. It became a national holiday in 1948, but it has been a day of celebration in the Asian country since ancient times.

The Facts

In ancient Japanese times, the fifth day of the fifth month was traditionally called Tango no Sekku and was a festival for boys only. Girls had their own festival, called Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival), held on the third day of the third month.

Today Children's Day families with boys fly huge carp-shaped streamers (koinobori) outside the house and display dolls of famous warriors and other heroes inside. The carp was chosen because it symbolizes strength and success; according to a Chinese legend, a carp swam upstream to become a dragon.

In recent years, as more people have moved into apartments and smaller houses, the carp streamers have also gotten smaller, and there are now miniature versions that decorate the indoors.

Also on this day, families often take baths sprinkled with iris leaves and roots. This is because the iris is thought to promote good health and ward off evil. Rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves and filled with sweet bean paste, called kashiwamochi, are also eaten.

The Scene

On May 5 of each year, events highlighting children are held throughout the country of Japan. At the National Kasumigaoka Stadium in Tokyo, tens of thousands of children and their parents participate in a Kids' Olympics. It has the look and feel of the real thing, since the National Kasumigaoka Stadium was the main arena for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. It even features a torch relay, and there are races for parents and kids in different age groups.

Many activities involve the arts. At the Yokohama Noh Theater one year, a kyogen recital was held that featured 18 young actors. The youngest of them was a second grader and the oldest was in the seventh grade.

Kyogen is a type of comic theater that was founded around 600 years ago and is performed with traditional costumes and a distinctive acting style. The kids had been attending practices once or twice a week since the summer of 1996 to learn the unique comic expressions, movements, and uses of the fan. One of the pieces performed was called Shibiri, in which a servant claims he can't run an errand for his master because every time he tries to do so his leg falls asleep.

The theater was packed with parents and friends, who not only enjoyed the humorous pieces but were also extremely impressed with the kids' convincing performances.

Related Stories

readers voted!

Comments

-ZeroHero-

-ZeroHero- wrote:

cool
commented: Sun Jun 16, 2013

there are 1 more comments

Please login or register to add comments


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like it!

latest videos

F1038274007671

Should School Music Programs Be Cut?

  • No way, music is a very important art.
  • Maybe, if not enough people are interested.
  • Yes, who needs it.
  • I don't care cuz I'm not in music.

related stories

Hideki Matsui and his monsterous swing have earned him the nickname Godzilla and helped the Yanke...
Micro_apolo-ohno-micro
Oh, no! Here comes Apolo. Meet the fastest guy on ice, who always has great hair - speedskater, A...

Random in the forums

ArtistGirl01
 "What does Elsa need to be careful about?" Anna asked. "Slipping on the ice!" the Queen of Arendelle said quickly. "Where did you come from?"
reply 15 minutes
ows_ali123
8
reply 28 minutes
jordand08
jordand08 posted in Say Anything:
I can tell you something about chemistry. I. SUCK. AT. IT. :D Anywho, when you have to take Chemistry. seriously, pay attention. But hopefully you'll have a good teacher.
reply 31 minutes
socialbutterfly777
one day there was a girl who was walking by a  shoe store and she saw a pair of red sneakers she beged and beged her mom for them and one day she got tiered of the begging she said im not going to pay for them if you help e around the house ill give you 3 dollars an hour and she made a deal and she did that for a onth and then she stopped by the store to see how much they cost and they costed 16 dollers luckly she had 20 dollers so she bought them and she never begged again.                                                the end 
reply 32 minutes
ows_ali123
sent108 got103
reply 33 minutes

play online games

Goodgameempire-thumb

Goodgame Empire is a great strategy title by Goodgame Studios. Build your own ca...

Dragon-dash-thumb-image

Your dragon must return to guard the treasure! Help it gather lost coins and avo...

Blobthrower-thumb

Shoot blobs with different properties to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be r...

Candy-cash-thumb

Candy's got her candies into a terrible mess, can you help her to sort them out?

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

_thumb_100x100

Bloons 2 is here! A worthy and awesome sequel at last to our original Bloons gam...

Frostbox_100x100

Explore the world or hang out with friends in your own condo. Get a unique look,...

Plinga-pet

Join the pet-pampering party with your own customized critter!