Cinco de Mayo is Kodomo no Hi

Today may be Cinco de Mayo, but May 5 is also Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day, in Japan.

Across the country, children are celebrated and wished good health and prosperity. Originally, this day was established for boys and called Tango no Sekku, but changed after World War II to recognize all children.

It’s the final day of what’s known as “Golden Week,” a weeklong vacation consisting of four holidays, beginning with Showa no Hi, a day that marks the birthday of the Emperor Showa, who served Japan from 1926 until 1989.

The other holidays are Constitution Memorial Day, or Kenpou Kinenbi, on May 3, which commemorates the constitution of Japan and the country’s renunciation of war; and Greenery Day, or Midori no Hi, on May 4. Like Earth Day here in the States, Midori no Hi is the day the Japanese honor nature. Visiting parks and planting trees are among the most popular activities of the day.

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Children’s Day festival depicted in “Suido Bridge and Surugadai” from the series 100 Famous Views of Edo by Hiroshige. Photo by The Ronin Gallery.

Kodomo no Hi is perhaps the most festive of the Golden Week observations, with the flying of koinobori (carp flags), the making of origami kabuto (samurai helmets), and the telling of folklore stories such as Momotaro (Peach Boy).

Here at the JapanCulture•NYC headquarters, Junior Assistant Editor Peter made a few origami kabuto as part of his NekoCulture•NYC training.

Kodomo no Hi, Children's Day, Golden Week, Japan, NYC, origami, kabuto, koinobori, Midori no Hi, Japanese customs, Japanese traditions

Junior Assistant Editor Peter folds origami

Kodomo no Hi, Children's Day, Golden Week, Japan, NYC, origami, kabuto, koinobori, Midori no Hi, Japanese customs, Japanese traditions

Junior Assistant Editor Peter sports his Doraemon kabuto