May 5, 2010
Today is Children's Day called 'Kodomo No Hi (こどもの日),' the last day of Golden Week.
This day originally was called 'Tango No Sekku (端午の節句)' and celebrated the future growth and success of young boys (as apposed to the Doll Festival for girls). But in 1948 the day became a national holiday and it was renamed Children's Day to celebrate both young boys and young girls.
But although the name has changed, much of the traditions surrounding this holiday are associated with the old holiday. Such as this 'Kabuto (兜)' in the photo above or the 'Gogatsu Ningyo (五月人形)' which translates to May Doll, below.
In the olden days, when a boy was born into a Samurai family, they would decorate the entrance of the house with a Kabuto or Doll. You can see the dolls are wearing a 'Yoroi,' which were important armour in a battle for a Samurai. So they would decorated the entrance in hopes that the son would grow to be strong, healthy, and kept from from harm.
I hope children all over the world grow to be strong and healthy, and most importantly kept from harm. Happy Children's Day!