Children’s Day is a Japanese national holiday in Japan celebrated every May 5th and is the final celebration in Golden Week, a collection of four national holidays within seven days. It is a day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness.
Children’s Day has had several names throughout history, including Tango no Sekku (one of the five imperial ceremonial days), the Iris Festival, the Feast of Banners, and Boys’ Day. It began as a day to ward off evil spirits and to pray for good health, and evolved into a day where samurai families would celebrate the male children of households by hoisting banners outside their homes and displaying helmets and armor. In 1948, the Japanese government designated May 5th to be a national holiday to celebrate the happiness of all children, and it was officially renamed Children’s Day.
Traditional Children’s Day decorations include symbols of strength and vitality, such as flying koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks), dolls of traditional folk heroes such as Kintaro or Momotaro, and traditional samurai helmets, armor, and weapons.