For Kodomo No Hi (Children's Day), families raise colorful carp-shaped "Koinobori" flags, one for each member of the family. The largest carp flag represents the father, followed by the mother and smaller carp to represent children.
May is the month of purple flowers, with irises and wisteria crowning the countryside with kingly purples and violets. The iris, or shoubu, is another famous symbol of Kodomo no Hi. In Japanese, shoubu means both iris and military spirit (although the Chinese characters are different), and because the shape of the leaves resemble swords, they are used to decorate the samurai style Go Gatsu Ningyo (5th Month dolls).
Kashiwa mochi and irises. Image by att.japan
No holiday would be complete without its special treats, and Kodomo no Hi is no exception. Children are treated to kashiwa-mochi, a sweet rice cake filled with even sweeter bean paste and wrapped in an oak leaf. Chimaki, a sticky sweet cake wrapped in bamboo leaves, is also very popular.
Summer is here! Happy Kodomo No Hi (^-^)/