May 5th is the children’s day, especially for boys’ in Japan while March 3rd is the day for girls.
We display samurai costume which thought to be the protection for the health and growth for boys, not for the war. And we have rice cake wrapped by the oak leaves with bean paste or white miso pastes are in it to celebrate the festival day.
Iris festival in May 5th
It is called “Iris festival” in other words for May 5th because the sound of Iris in Japanese “shobu” is the same as the samurai spirits. Therefore, the festival day has been the celebration for growth and health for boys in Japan since Edo period (1603-1868).
In English, it’s all “Iris” but there are some kinds of iris on May in Japan “shobu” (Acorus calamus), “Ayame” (Iris sanguinea) and “kakitsubata”(Iris laevigata). The photo is the traditional Japanese flower arrangement for Kakitsubata. Shobu is similar flower as this.
Rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf and the carp streamer
In addition to the display of “Kabuto” costume, we have the typical Japanese sweets called Kashiwa-mochi and Chimaki at home.
Since Kashiwa means the oak leaf, which don’t fall down till the new leaf come out, it’s thought as the symbol of the luck for the descendant’s prosperity.
The carp streamer is also thought to be the lucky item for the success in life, which origin came from the Chinese historical fact “Gate way to success” *.
We also have “the carp yama” for Gion festival in July, one of the biggest 3 festivals in Kyoto. The souvenir for the carp yama (koi yama) is very popular for the wish for the success in life, examination, or luck in business.
＊The gate way to success： According to Chinese Riryo-den book, there were many carps around the upper stream of Yellow River. Almost all carps can’t go up from the rapid torrent called “Dragon gate way”, but if it can swim up, the carp will be the dragon. Therefore, this gate is thought as the gate way to success.
The special tea ceremony for Iris’s festival
I’ll display the traditional Japanese samurai costume in the waiting room. (This picture is Westin miyako hotel)
The incense box is the carp made of wood, and tea bowls are painted iris and kabuto (samurai helmet).
This special tea ceremony will be held till the middle of May.
If you are interested in Samurai costume, it’s really worth looking at!
In addition, tea ceremony was originally done by only men, samurai in the beginning of the history. I think tea ceremony is worth learning for the people who are interested in Bushi-do also.