端午の節句= Tango no sekku + Golden week!

April 30, 2011 in Japanese culture, Japanese song


= Dakara watashi onnanoko datte…

= I told you. I am a girl!

Hi everyone!

ゴールデンウイーク = Gooruden uiiku = Golden Week has just started in Japan so I will teach you about Japanese holidays in spring.


Holidays in Japanese is 祝日 = shukujitu  or 国民の祝日= Kokumin no shukujitsu = National Holidays.

The literal meaning of 祝日= shukujitsu is

:rrrr: = いわう/しゅく = to celebrate

:rrrr: = ひ/び/にち/か = day

People from older generations call it  旗日 = hatabi = flag holiday because we fly the Japanese flag in front of office buildings or houses on National Holidays. But we rarely see the flag flying in front of regular houses on national holidays these days.

We also refer to holidays, days offs, and vacation (お)休み= (o)yasumi

:: Note
: adding (=o)  in front of word makes it sound more polite or formal. (It doesn’t work with all words, though.)

Ex. 明日は休みです。
= Ashita wa yasumi desu.
= It’s my day off tomorrow.

If you want to take a day off you ask your boss

Ex. すみませんが、来週、お休みを頂けますか?

= Sumimasen ga raishuu oyasumi wo itadakemasu ka?

= Can I have a day off next week?

Vacation is called 休暇= kyuuka

Ex. 休暇を利用して旅行に行きたい。

= Kyuka wo riyou shite ryokou ni ikitai.

= I would like to use my vacation time to go traveling.

A long vacation is called 長期休暇= chouki kyuuka

Ex. 長期休暇をとる

= Chouki kyuka wo toru

= to take a long vacation

Unless you are a student who can take a long vacation such as:

春休み= haruyasumi = spring vacation, spring break

夏休み= natsuyasumi = summer vacation

冬休み= fuyuyasumi = winter vacation

you can’t take many days off if you work for a Japanese company.

正月休み= shougatsu yasumi= New Year’s holidays

:rrrr: Dec. 31, Jan. 1, 2, 3 + or more (depending on the company)

(お)盆休み= (O)bon yasumi = Bon holidays

:rrrr: August 13,14, 15or more (depending on the company)

And we are now in

ゴールデンウイーク = gooruden uiiku = Golden Week

:rrrr: For short we also call it GW. GW lasts from the end of April until the beginning of May

The Japanese name is 黄金週間= ougon shuukan (黄金=ougon = gold(en) 週間=shuukan= week(s) but ゴールデンウイーク (= gooruden uiiku )= Golden Week is more common and we also write it as G.W. or GW

Ex. GW中はどこも混雑します。

= Gooruden uiiku chuu wa dokomo konzatsu shimasu.

= It’s crowded everywhere during the Golden Week.

Ex. GW 明けに会おうか?

= Gooruden uiiku ake ni aou ka?

= Let’s get together after Golden Week!

 •April 29th :昭和の日 = Showa no hi

It is used to be The Emperor’s Birthday =天皇誕生日 ( = Tennou Tanjoubi) but from 1989 we changed the name of this national holiday to みどりの日 ( =  Midori no hi) = Greenery Day and it was then changed to 昭和の日  ( = Shouwa no hi) in 2007

May 3rd : 法記念日= Kenpou Kinenbi = Constitution Memorial Day

May 4th : みどりの日 = Midori no hi = Greenery Day

May 5th : こどもの日 = Kodomono hi =Children’s Day

*It is customary called “端午の節句” = Tango no sekku

Compared to other countries, Japan doesn’t have so many holidays.
So we have to appreciate these little holidays.
For example if you have a holiday on Monday or Saturday,  it is called

:rrrr: 連休 = renkyuu = consecutive holidays

Ex. 連休はどこも混んでいるから家にいます

= Renkuu wa dokomo konde irukara ie ni imasu.

= I will stay home because it is going to be crowded everywhere during the Golden Week.


= Kono renkyuu dokka iku?

= Are you going somewhere over the long holiday?


= Uun dokkomo ikanai.

= No, I won’t go anywhere.

  Note : どっか(= dokka) is a casual way to say どこかへ(= dokokaye) or どこかに(= dokokani )= somewhere

どっこも (= dokkomo) is also a casual way to say どこにも(= dokonimo) = anywhere

If you have a three day weekend, you call it

:rrrr:3連休= san renkyuu= three consecutive day holidays, three day weekend

If you have a few holidays but there is an interval between the holidays, we call it

:rrrr: 飛び石連休 = tobiishi renkyuu = series of holidays with an interval in between

Note : 飛び石= tobiishi means “stepping stones”

Long holidays are called:

大型連休 = oogata renkyuu = long holidays


Now, let’s talk about May 5th, also known as こどもの日 = Kodomono hi =Children’s Day.

We celebrate the well-being of children today but it is customarily called “端午の節句” ( = Tango no sekku) and it was originally for boys.

:s: Note : 端午= tango

(= hashi/tan) means ”the edge” / “the end

= go means “noon” and it refers to  “May”.

So 端午=tango means  “the end of the season” which means the beginning of the new season.

節句 = sekku means special and important days to have traditional events.

(We have a Girls Day on March 3rd and it is called 雛祭り= Hinamatsuri = Doll’s festival or

桃の節句= momo no sekku →=momo= peaches )

OK, let’s take a look at the picture above.

:maggie-small: だから、私、女の子だって(言ってるでしょ!)」

= Dakara watashi onnanoko datte (itterudesho) !).

= I told you, I am a girl!

:s: Noteだから(=dakara) usually mean “That’s why” “therefore” or “so” and used when you explain some reason.

Ex. 昨日は体調がよくなく一日寝ていました。だからクラスへ行けなかったのです。

= KInou wa taichou ga yokunaku ichinichi nete imashita. Dakara kurasu ye ikenakatta nodesu.

= I was under the weather all day yesterday. That is why I couldn’t go to class.

Ex. 昨日、給料が出たんだ。だからおごってあげるよ!

= Kinou kyuuryou ga detanda. Dakara ogotte ageru yo!

= I got paid yesterday. So I’ll treat you.

But we also use it when we want to add stress to a sentence.

For example if the listener made mistake disregarding your warning,
you would say,

:roll: (That’s why) I told you!

Ex. だから言ったでしょ!(female speech)

=Dakara itta desho!

Ex. だから言ったじゃない!(female speech /more casual)

=Dakara itta janai!

Ex. だから言っただろ!(Male speech, rough)

Dakara itta daro!

Also we use it when we repeat something, rephrase what we meant, or bring up some obvious fact that the listener doesn’t get.

Ex. だから、私は行きたくないの!

= Dakara watashi wa ikitaku naino!

= I told you, I don’t want to go!

Ex. だから俺はお前のことが好きなんだよ!(male speech )

= Dakara ore wa omae no koto ga sukinandayo!

= I told you (or Isn’t it obvious?/ You should know) I like you!

What Maggie Sensei is wearing is called = かぶと= kabuto= traditional Samurai helmet

We still decorate = かぶと= kabuto= traditional Samurai helmet, or 五月人形(=gogatsu ningyou) the literal meaning is May Dolls, they are traditional military commander dolls.

:u: (It looks a bit scary for me..)

or raise 鯉のぼり= koinobori = carp shaped flags outside of your house if you have a boy in your family.

(Usually only when their boys are little.) because 鯉のぼり = koinobori =carp-shaped streamers represent success and strength.

吹き流し=fukinabashi=flying streamers、真鯉=Magoi=black carp、緋鯉=higoi= red carp子鯉=kogoi=child carp (The color and number varies.)

(↑This picture is from Wikipedia)

:u: Sometimes they hung them horizontally along the river.

:r: !onpu! Here’s a tradition children’s song : 鯉のぼり= koinobori

* 屋根より高い鯉のぼり

= Yane yori takai koinobori

= Carp streamers are higher than the roof

:ii: Note : comparative sentence :

B (=wa) Aより(=yori) + adjectve

:rrrr: A より(=yori)+ adjective +B

:rrrr: B is more (adjective ) than A

Ex. B はA より高い

= B wa A yori takai

= B is higher than A

:rrrr: A より高いB

= A yori takai B

= B which is higher than A = B is higher than A

* 大きい真鯉はお父さん

= Ookii magoi wa otoosan

= The big black carp is the father

* 小さい緋鯉は子供達

= Chiisai higoi wa kodomotachi

= The small red (scarlet) carps are the children

* 面白そうに泳いでる。

= Omoshirosou ni oyoideru

= They seem having fun swimming.

Note : ~そうに(=souni)+verb = Looks ~ doing something, having appearance of, seeming ~

Ex. 美味しそうに食べている

= Oishisou ni tabeteiru.

= Eating something with gusto.

(From Maggie :maggie-small: : You know what? I just realized one thing. This song doesn’t refer to a mother carp. And I thought mother carp were the red ones and the child carps were blue or other colors… megamaru-O )

And we eat 柏もち (= kashiwa mochi) sweetened rice cake wrapped with(=kashiwa)=oak leaf

Can you read the kanji 端午の節句= Tango no Sekku? on the package below?

As you can see in the picture 菖蒲=Shoubu  or アヤメ= ayame = Iris flowers are symbols of May.

Traditionally we bathe children in a bath with iris leaves hoping that they grow healthy.

They stuff = an= sweet beans paste inside of かしわ餅= kashiwa mochi.

or ちまき(= chimaki )= sweetened ricecake wrapped with(=sasa)=bamboo leaf

マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Watashi wa nanarenkyuu desu. Urayamashii?

= I have seven long holidays. Are you jealous?