立夏 Rikka (Beginning of summer)
May 5–9 蛙始鳴 Kawazu hajimete naku Frogs start singing
May 10–14 蚯蚓出 Mimizu izuru Worms surface
May 15–20 竹笋生 Takenoko shōzu Bamboo shoots sprout
The 5th of May is Children’s day or Boys Day in Japan and is part of the golden week celebrations. Hinamatsuri on March 3rd is set aside for girls day. Children’s day / boys day is celebrates the happiness of children. At this time you may say koi shaped streamers or wind socks flying in the breeze. These are known as koinobori. Normally a large black koi represents the father of the family a red one for the mother and a blue one for the son of the family. Other colours could be green or orange for additional children. This year I had planned to be in Japan at this time but because of the events happening beyond my control I had to cancel. This is a decoration in my home with a koi streamer cloth on the tea table and koi wind sock hanging from the cherry blossom.
Hopefully I will get the chance to see them for real next year, as I had never visited Japan in May before.
Families May also display the military helmet known as Kabuto which symbolises strength.
On this day a wagashi ( Japanese sweet ) is eaten known as Kashiwa Mochi . A Mochi rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf, again a symbol of strength. You can find out more about this and a recipe on my kashiwa Mochi or children’s day previous posts.
Takenoko or bamboo child are the first shoots of the new bamboo growth and sum up the perfect spring Japanese dish. Takenoko Gohan is a simple recipe you could make using bamboo shoots and rice. You can find this in the spring recipe section of this website.