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Children's Day こどもの日 (Japan)

carp-1On the week that leading up to May 5th, one can find colorful koi fish kites strewn across tall poles on top of houses in Japan. The kites visually mark start of the festive national holiday called “Kodomo no Hi”, also known as Children's Day (こどもの日). The cheerful holiday is meant to celebrate the joy of all children and express appreciation toward parents and guardians.

The koi fish or carp shaped kites are called “koinobori” (鯉のぼり). The elegant, fluttering fish squaresymbolizes strength, courage, and vitality – characteristics parents hope to see in their children as they grow up. Each set of koinobori is made with a several koi on a poll in the official hierarchal order: a colorful streamer with a symbolic family crest, the black koi symbolizing the father of the family, the red koi symbolizing the mother of a family, and the blue koi symbolizing the first child. Subsequent koi fish in different colors are placed below the blue koi for each younger child.

Kashiwa mochi (柏餅), red bean filled mochi wrapped in pickled oak leaf, are typically eaten to bring good luck to children’s strength and health. The oak leaf is used as ornamentation and leaves a pleasant aroma. However, it is usually not eaten because it leaves a bitter aftertaste. If you do not have pickled oak leaf or red bean mochi at home, you can improvise with these miniature, prepackaged mochi we sell here. Celebrations are meant to be personal and fun, so we encourage you to add creativity and meaning to your own mochi. We wish you a wonderful Children’s Day full of hope, dreams, and happiness!

Thanks for reading!

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