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Friday, April 26, 2013

Kodomo no Hi... the "other" Cinco de Mayo

Yes, we all love a good Cinco de Mayo celebration. The food, the music, the piñata... But have you ever wondered if there might be more to the Fifth of May than just what's happening South of the Border? Well, there is!

"Kodomo no Hi" is Children's Day in Japan.

 photo 400px-Koinobori4797_zpsb8eaae1d.jpg
public domain image
Like Mexico's Cinco de Mayo, Kodomo no Hi is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year.

The most noticeable tradition associated with Kodomo no Hi is the koinobori pole. In the past, only families with sons flew these koi-shaped windsocks atop their homes. These days, the koinobori generally represent sons and daughters of a family. Traditionally, the top koinobori is black, representing the father, followed by a red koinobori for the mother. Below that are seen a blue koinobori for the eldest son/child, then green for the next child, and either purple or orange (depending on the region) for more children.

Kashiwa-mochi (rice cakes filled with red bean paste and wrapped in oak leaves) and chimaki (sweet rice paste wrapped in an iris or bamboo leaf) are traditionally served on this day.

We will be making koinobori later in the week, and possibly trying our hand at a modified mochi recipe... or maybe swinging by the local Asian grocery store to see what they have for the big event.

And you? Have you celebrated Kodomo no Hi? Any fun ideas?


  1. This sounds like a great celebration! Thanks for educating me about this holiday!

    Forever A Teacher, Forever A Learner

    1. This was a new one for us this year, too. So many exciting thing to discover in this great wide world, aren't there? So glad you stopped in!


  2. The kids were just asking me when is it Kids Day. I was able to tell them about Children's Day in Japan! Next year I'll have to follow in your footsteps and plan some activities. Thanks for introducing us to new traditions!

    1. You're so welcome. The best part of exploring world traditions: what's fun for the kids is fun for us, too, right?!