Golden Week is a collection of 4 national holidays that all fall within a week of each other in Japan. Some companies are closed down completely during this time to allow their employees to take a long vacation. Others require their workers to take paid time off, but even then, these workers can take a long vacation by just taking a few days off. Since this is one of the longest vacation periods for many Japanese workers, it is a really popular time to travel. In 2022, Golden Week lasts from April 29 until May 5. The final celebration during Golden Week is Children’s Day or kodomo no Hi.
Families observe Children’s Day through traditions that celebrate their happiness and well-being. Families hang koinobori or carp-shaped windsocks, outside of their houses and they symbolize strength and success. These windsocks are made in different colors to represent different members of the family – black for the father, red or pink for the mother, and one carp for each child. The carp for the children are usually blue, and sometimes green and orange as well.
Kashiwa mochi (sticky rice cakes filled with sweet red bean paste and wrapped in oak leaves) is a traditional food served on this day. Though the oak leaves are not edible, they symbolize prosperity of one’s descendants. They also have a nice fragrance that adds a nice flavor to the mochi.