If you are into partying, then you’ve likely been counting down to today. May 5th is, of course, Cinco de Mayo. Or, as many Americans see it, an excuse to pig out on burritos as big as their heads and drown themselves in a pool of margaritas. Ole!
However, the culturally aware also know that May 5th is Boys Day in Japan. The holiday is also celebrated in the United States, though mainly in Hawaii, California and other states which have large Japanese populations.
Officially known as Tango-no-Sekku, or the Boys’ Festival, May 5th is Japan’s way of turning the spotlight on young males to celebrate their growth and development. (The country does the same for girls on March 3rd.)
Being of Japanese descent and living in a family with way too many brothers, Boys Day was a momentous occasion around our house in Hawaii. My mother made sure that all of the proper customs were observed, including flying colorful carp-shaped streamers from a large bamboo pole erected on the roof of the house. The Koi-Nobori are made from either light cloth or paper and fill with wind, so they look as though they are swimming in mid-air. One carp is flown for each son in the family. The koi streamers range in size with the largest representing the eldest and the smallest symbolizing the baby of the clan.
Now imagine if you are the product of a multi-cultural union. Your dad is Japanese and your mom is of Mexican descent. Well, then, today is your day to pah-tay!!
Double your fun by hanging up carp wearing a sombrero, filling the buffet with Chimaki (sweet rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves), mochi (rice cakes containing sweet bean paste), fajitas, tacos, and quesadillas. Then, take aim at a piñata with a samurai sword.
Oh, happy day!