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Children’s Day

pink coloured carp kite or koinobori on display at Murakami House

What is Children’s Day in Japan?

May 5th is a national holiday in Japan called “Children’s Day” or Kodomo-no-hi. It was originally called “Boys’ Day” , and changed in the 1940’s to become more inclusive. Similarly, “Girls’ Day” celebrated on March 3rd is now called Hinamatsuri – or Doll’s day.

On the days prior to and following Children’s Day, families, businesses and communities will hang colourful carp (koi) streamers (koinobori), to bring good luck, health, and happiness to children.

Also for Children’s Day, homes and businesses may display “boys’” dolls depicting a miniature samurai warrior set (with armor, helmet & sword) and Doll’s Day has their own elaborate display!

Many cultural traditions were kept by the early immigrants who moved here from Japan. This is a way for parents to share the holiday traditions with their children, to pass along the cultural heritage of their homeland. The tradition was also held onto in the hopes of ensuring good health, happiness and luck for the children.

This weekend, from May 5 to 7, 2023, look for a fun origami activity inside the Murakami House, at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site. Learn how to make a Kabuto (samurai) helmet to commemorate Children’s Day in Japan. Open 12-4pm, admission is free.