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Children's Day Traditions

The Children’s Day is recognized in various places around the world to commemorate children globally. One of the countries in Asia who religiously observes Children’s Day or Kodomo No Hi traditions is Japan. In the Land of the Rising Sun, the event is regarded as a national holiday and celebrated every 3rd of March for girls and 5th of May for boys. These are the times of the year when children were honored together with their parents as they indulge in various activities and traditions.

Japan is a rich land of unique culture and traditions. Know what awaits children in Japan with these following Children’s Day practices.

· Doll Festival

Also known as hinamatsuri, this is one of the most-awaited festivities in Japan. The people cover platforms with red carpet and decorate their households with ornamental dolls, such as the traditional Heian Period doll sets. The dolls represent the emperor, empress, officials, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dresses.

Important part of the Doll Festival traditions it the Japanese customary drink called shirozake, a sake produced from fermented rice. Crackers in small servings, known as hina-arare, flavored with sugar or soy sauce are eaten together with hishimochi (colored rice cakes) and chirashizushi (sushi rice in various flavors).

· Carp Kites

Also called koinobori by the Japanese, boys fly carp streamers or hung carp kites outside their houses. The streamers are also available in miniature versions for smaller homes. The carp was chosen to be a part of the Boy’s Day tradition because of its insurmountable strength and symbolism of success. Inside each home, dolls of famous warriors and other heroes are displayed.

· Samurai Costumes

The Samurai were the bravest and the noblest warriors of Japan. So to parade strength and courage, Japanese boys often wear samurai helmets on Children's Day.

· Family Gatherings

On Children’s Day, families also soak themselves in a tub filled with iris leaves and roots. This iris is known to encourage good health and stable well-being, as well as to ward off evil. Part of the tradition is eating kashiwamochi or rice cakes stuffed with sweet bean paste and wrapped in oak leaves.

· Golden Boy Doll

Families with boys exhibit a model of a Japanese folk hero known as Kintaro. According to a folklore, Kintaro was a boy of superhuman might and agility who grew up to be an esteemed warrior admired by many. Just like the samurai helmets, this acts of displaying Kintaro represents the family’s dream for their boys to be strong and courageous.

· Visit to the Monument

The Children's Peace Monument was erected almost 50 years ago with a girl named Sadako Sasashi as the inspiration of the whole architecture of the beautiful. Since it was unveiled on Children's Day 1958, thousands of children visit the monument each year.

· Kyogen

Around 600 years ago when type of comic theater was founded. Through the years, the distinctive acting style of kyogen is performed wearing Japanese traditional costumes. Japanese girls had been attending kyogen practices once or twice a week to perfect the comic expressions and movements of the Japanese fan.

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