Hi, are you doing well ? It's already May!
So today let's talk about a Japanese traditional custom that's celebrated in May.
A long time ago, May 5th was a day in Japan when people would eat and decorate their homes with medicinal herbs. This is most likely in recognition and celebration of the changing of the seasons. During the 13th century, Samurai (Japanese warriors) held strong political powers, and so May 5th also became a day when people would celebrate samurai. Centuries later, may 5th finally became a day for celebrating boys, and to wish for their health and success.
And so, on May 5th, people have long been displaying Samurai helmets in their homes and hanging out flags in the shape of carps as a symbol of vivacity.
Nowadays, the 5th of May is called "Children's day" and is not only for boys.
But Japan has kept the tradition of celebrating this day in the following ways.
Hanging out Carp Flags "Koinobori"
People hang several carp flags outside their homes.
When the wind blows, these carps seem to be swimming in the sky!
Displaying Samurai Helmets
Samurai helmets are also displayed in homes. The prices of these helmets vary from thousands of yen, to as much as a million. (that's nearly 10,00 US dollars!)
May 5th Foods: Kashiwa-mochi and Chimaki
Kawashi-mochi is a sweet made from glutinous Japanese rice which is pounded into a round shape. It has sweet bean paste inside, and is wrapped with an oak leaf. Oak is a symbol of family prosperity.
These are absolutely yummy! If you are in Japan on May 5th, why not try one for yourself!
Chimaki is steamed glutinous rice wrapped with a bamboo leaf. Because of its propagative power, it was believed that « bamboo» would ward off evil.
Japanese Iris Bath
Japanese iris has long been used as medicinal herb. Some people also like to enjoy a bath with Japanese iris leaves, and to decorate their homes with Japanese iris flowers.
Coronavirus obliges us to stay home, but why not enjoy "Children's Day" at home by making your own Origami Samurai helmet !
Check it out !