Monday, which is Boy’s Day Festival in Japan, brings the reminder that in Japan, as in the United States, one of a nation’s greatest assets is her children. “Children’s Day” is to stress the importance of respecting the character of children and promoting their health and happiness.
Kodo Arts Japanese Antiques will be recreating the Boy’s Day Festival atmosphere in the Kodo Arts warehouse with Boy’s Day Festival banners, dolls, lanterns and kimono during their May 3-11 Show and Sale at 571 Searls Ave, in Nevada City.
If one travels through Japan from the latter half of April to early May, one sees nearly everywhere huge, gay-colored Koi-Nobori, carp-like streamers made of paper or cloth, which fill with wind and seem to swim in the air. Together with long red and white ribbons, the carp are hoisted on a bamboo pole, mounted by a pair of gilded pinwheels, high above the rooftops.
A carp is flown for each son in the family, a very large one for the eldest, the others ranging down in size.
The carp has become the symbol of the Boys’ Festival because the Japanese consider it the most spirited of fish, so full of energy and power that it can fight its way up swift-running streams and cascades. Because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals.
The carp is an appropriate symbol to encourage manliness and the overcoming of life’s difficulties, leading to consequent success, according to Kodo Arts.
The Japanese iris has always been closely associated with the Boys’ Festival. The iris leaf is prominent in the observance of Tango-no-Sekku because the sound of the word “Shobu,” although written with different characters, implies striving for success.
Each year on May 5, the Japanese steep the leaves in hot water and enjoy the fragrant Shobu-yu (iris hot-bath) because of the traditional belief that the iris bath is a miraculous prophylactic against all kinds of sickness. Many public bath houses, particularly in the districts where the people are less affected by western influence and are accustomed to taking hot baths in the morning, open their doors early in the morning May 4 and 5.
The Kodo Arts show continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 11. For more information, call 530-478-0812 or go to www.kodo-arts.com.