Friday, May 05, 2006

Tango no sekku

Today, here in Hawaii, we celebrate May 5 as Boys' Day. Well, actually it is suppose to be "Children's Day" or Kodomo no hi, a Japanese national holiday. With its special customs and observances, it is for expressing the hope that each boy in the family will grow up healthy and strong. On this day, families raise the carp-shaped Koinobori flags, one carp is flown for each son in the family, a very large one for the eldest, the others ranging down in size, and display the doll of Momotaro or Kintarou usually riding on a large carp, and the traditional Japanese military helmet, Kabuto. Kintarou and the Kabuto are both symbols of a strong and healthy boy. Mochi rice cakes wrapped in kashiwa oak leaves, that is, kashiwa-mochi and chimaki, are traditionally served on this day.

Happy Boys Day!

"The carp has become the symbol of the Boys' Festival because the Japanese consider it the most spirited of fish, so full of energy and power that it can fight its way up swift-running streams and cascades. Because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals. The carp is an appropriate symbol to encourage manliness and the overcoming of life's difficulties leading to consequent success."

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