Gogatsu Ningyo(五月人形), literally translated as “May Dolls", are displayed in Japanese houses in the honor of the household’s newborn sons.
Spring comes with many festivals and events in Japan and Kodomo no Hi/こどもの日(Children’s Day), celebrated on the 5th of May is one of them. Part of the Golden Week, this special day used to be only for boys and was known under a different name in the past: Tango-no-sekku.
There have been quite a few theories about this important event but at the end of the day, nobody knows its origins.
It is said that during the Kamakura period, Tango-no-sekku was a celebration for the male heirs of military class and rituals developed in time and remained an important part of the Kodomo no Hi. Tango no Sekku began in Kyoto during the Heian Period and gradually developed and gained popularity starting from Edo.
The warrior dolls or Gogatsu Ningyo are a symbol of courage and power, used in hope of good fortune and protecting the children from diseases and evil.
The dolls used to be dressed in armors (yoroi/鎧) have kabuto on their heads (ornamental helmets) and katana (swords) or bows/arrows.
However, nowadays, many families choose to have kabuto decorations that can be worn by their children.
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