Celebrating Boy’s Day Festival

Pamela Chan, BCFamily.ca

It might seem surprising that a family in British Columbia would celebrate a Japanese children’s holiday when neither of the parents are Japanese.   Like the Girl’s Day Festival in March, this festival is a fun celebration that is hard to resist.

Boy’s Festival (Tango no Sekku) and Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi) takes place on May 5th in Japan.  Families put out different types of carp streamers, samurai helmet and doll displays and eat chimaki ( a chewy rice cake served in a bamboo or iris leaf) or kashiwa mochi (rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves and filled with red bean jam.)   Since we celebrate Girl’s Day in our household, we like to focus on the Boy’s Festival celebration on May 5th.

Traditionally this day was dedicated to boys until it was changed to Children’s Day in 1948.  In South Korea families celebrate Dano Festival  by giving presents and going on day trips to local parks, zoos and museums. The timing of the festival (fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar) is also related to the Duanwu Festival (Tuen Ng Festival in Cantonese) in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau and to a festival in Vietnam.

In our household we take a slightly multicultural twist which includes dim sum and Chinese food, a samurai doll display, playing with traditional Japanese toys and flying our Hawaiian made windsock, which is similar to one type of koinobori windsock flown in Japan. We also spent part of the day talking about Orthodox Easter –  a religious holiday that was observed by elders in our family.

Even though May 5th is now over, we will continue to do some related crafts this week and enjoy our windsock and samurai display.

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Colouring sheet that can be made into a koinobori.

Make your own koinobori using toilet paper tubes and tissue paper.

Simple How To Draw A Koinobori Kite video

Kodomo No Hi Pinterest board

Koinobori photographs on Flickr

Koinobori fish sandwiches. Easy to make with a sharp knife as you probably won’t have the cutter.

Koinobori spring rolls. (You could cheat by buying large spring rolls and decorate them.)

Koinobori banana omelet. (It’s mesmerizing to watch how they are made.)

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