May 5th, Boys will be boys on Children’s Day

Originally May 5th was intended to celebrate boys, but in 1948 the day was officially redubbed as Children’s Day.

Nonethless, many families to this day prefer referring to it in its original form. Whereas the hina dolls for hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day) pray for healthy growth and happiness, during boy’s day koinobori banners in the shape of a carp are flown from each house symbolizing determination and vigour just like a carp overcomes many obstacles to swim upstream. By extension you may also occasionally see samurai figurines and helmets on display to inspire the same strength and bravery these noble warriors held. With regards to some delights Japanese households enjoy on this day, kashiwa-mochi which is another type of rice cake wrapped in oak leaves, easily comes to mind.


Since the day is no longer just for boys, yet has remained an official holiday as part of the (in)famous Golden Week many events are organized by local communities for the joy of children at this time. Popular activities aside from these organized events include amongst others flying kites in the park or treating the children on a special day out to an amusement park. Children’s Day is special holiday in Japan and if you happen to be a parent in Japan with a young child, feel free to join the locals!