A Look at Japan’s Boys’ Festival

You might notice some extra decorations at your favorite Japanese restaurant this coming May. Children’s Day, also known as Boys’ Festival or Tango no Sekku, is coming up, and it is a celebration you do not want to miss.

The Current Celebration

Children’s Day, celebrated on May 5 th , has been a national Japanese holiday for almost 70 years; it was officially established in 1948. Families will fly huge streamers, often shaped like large carps. These streamers will fly outside the house or inside an apartment; dolls and other depictions of famous warriors and heroes will be on display inside the house. Across the country you will find many events, such as children’s plays and other children-centered celebrations.

The History of Boys’ Festival

Boys’ Festival has been celebrated since Japan’s ancient times, and it was meant to celebrate only the boys and fathers in the household. Carp streamers would fly in different sizes to represent the father and sons of the house. Girls also had their own day, known as Doll Festival or Hinamatsuri. Straw dolls would be sent down a river, meant to take bad spirits and times with them. Now, these celebrations have been changed to the current Children’s Day celebration meant for all children, as well as their parents.

The Symbolism

The streaming carps are meant to symbolize strength and success. The carp is part of a popular Chinese legend, in which a carp swam up a stream to become a dragon. Each carp streamer represents a member of the family. Also, families will take their baths with iris leaves and roots sprinkled in the water. Iris is believed to encourage good health and be a ward against evil.

When you come down to House of Genji, you will find traditional Japanese dining near San Jose. Our Japanese restaurant has teppanyaki, sushi, and several other menu choices for the entire family. Call us at (408) 453-8120 to learn more about our exciting Japanese dining experience.