Flying Carps, Yomogi Treats and Iris Leaves Celebrating Health and Happiness of all Children

If you see colorful carp windsocks flying in the breeze in Japan, no doubt it’s close to May 5th, the Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day), the day to celebrate the health and happiness of all children.

On Kodomo-no-hi children go around to thank their parents, teachers and relatives for caring for them, and to humbly ask for their continued support as they grow up.

Flying Carps

If you see colorful carp windsocks flying in the breeze in Japan, no doubt it’s close to May 5th, the Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day)

The wind socks are called Koinobori, made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth or other fabric, and strung out to flutter everywhere–from city streets to the countryside.

In Japan, carps (Koi) are revered for their playfulness, strength and colorful beauty and considered to be a symbol of health and vigor.

Yomogi Treats

On this day, children are offered a special treat called kashiwamochi, made from yomogi (Artemesia princeps, the Japanese mugwort ) flavored rice cakes with sweet azuki beans wrapped in oak leaves.

The origin of kashiwamochi dates back to the Edo period (1603–1868.) It is believed that they were popularized because of the symbolism the old oak leaves do not fall off until the new shoots have grown.

Bath of Iris Leaves

On kodomonihi parents prepare a special bath for children called Shoubu-yu, by floating long iris leaves to promote good health and to ward off evil.Parents prepare a special bath for children called Shōbu-yu, by floating long leaves of a fragrant iris called hanashōbu which resemble swords, believed to promote good health and to ward off evil.

The leaves are also hung at entrances and under the eaves of homes to drive away evil spirits.

 

WAWAZA Staff Writers

WAWAZA Staff Writers

This post was written by collaboration and contributions of the staff at WAWAZA Japanese Traditional Beauty and Wellness based in Miyazaki, Japan.
WAWAZA Staff Writers

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This post was written by collaboration and contributions of the staff at WAWAZA Japanese Traditional Beauty and Wellness based in Miyazaki, Japan.
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2 Responses to Flying Carps, Yomogi Treats and Iris Leaves Celebrating Health and Happiness of all Children

  1. kyudogirl says:

    This blog reminds me of my childhood in Japan! I am so happy that the traditions still live on! The picture of kashiwamochi reminds me of my grandmother who used to prepare a LOT not only for us but also for our neighbors. Sweet azuki bean paste was a real treat for us those days. I didn’t know the factoid about kashiwa leaves. Thanks! Come to think of it, we did also took shobu bath, which I remember the aroma well

  2. mirela says:

    It sounds like the best way to honor children ! And it is similar to the way we celebrate it in my country although here we honor the children on the 1st of June and sometimes even the grown ups receive candy to remind them of their innocence and playfulness and maybe because we are all children at heart.
    I wish a great Kodomo-no-hi to all children! ( young and not so young!)
    Mirela

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