If you are new to Japan, perhaps you have been wondering why there are many colorful fish-like banners flying above some houses recently. It's because on the fifth of May, Japanese people celebrate Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day). Originally it was called Boy's Festival and the celebration was dedicated to a boy's growing up, but then it became a public holiday and was renamed Children's Day in 1948. For this day, the families who have sons display Koinobori (carp streamers) outside their houses. Carp can swim up waterfalls and that is the kind of health Japanese parents want for their children. Some parents put out Kabuto (ancient warrior helmets) to wish for their sons to be as strong as warriors. Usually families celebrate this day with a special food: chimaki (rice cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves), and kashiwamochi (rice cakes filled with red beans and wrapped in oak leaves). The oak and bamboo symbolize strength and successful life, which all parents wish for their children.
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