Happy Children's Day!

While most of you probably associate today to the more well-known "Cinco de Mayo" holiday, today is also Children's Day in Korea. Following is some information I found online... enjoy! From Suite101.com:

Children's Day (orini nal) is a South Korean holiday celebrated on May 5th. Although not an official holiday of the United States, it is certainly celebrated amongst Korean-American families. Founded in 1923 by the children's writer Pang Chong-Hwan, the holiday's original goal was to develop a feeling of independence and patriotism amongst the youth of the nation. Like many other South Korean holidays, Children's Day mixes the celebration of the children with the honoring of elders and ancestors since they are often responsible for taking care of and improving the lives of children.

Children's Day is a holiday for all ages, then. Frequently communities note the day with parades or other festivals. Amusement parks, zoos and movie theaters may offer free admission to children, and traditional games such as yut are played. This is a day when children are given gifts by their parents, and even by stores that they might visit while out celebrating. You can also expect to see tae kwon do demonstrations in public areas. And, of course, you will see the appearance of all the traditional Korean foods. Kimchi, bulgogi, shellfish-each will be eaten by a Korean family on this day.

Although Children's Day is a tradition of only 80 or so years, the date of May 5th is of great significance in the holiday calendar of South Korea. May 5th, or Tano, marks the beginning of summer, a holiday celebrated on the Korean peninsula as many as 500 years ago. Tano, also called surinnal, chungojol, chonjungjol, and tanyang, is the "first fifth day," which falls on the fifth of the fifth lunar month (tan means "first", -o means "five"). Marked today as Children's Day (although if the lunar calendar is right, this holiday actually falls in June!), many events traditionally associated with Tano can still be found in modern holiday celebrations.

In earlier times, this was a day when all farm work would cease and farmers would spend the day in restful celebration, dressed in their finest clothes. This was one day of the year that married women would be allowed to visit their family homes. The day started with the honoring of the ancestors, after which much feasting and playing commenced. Wrestling and swinging matches were an important part of this family. Women would wash their hair out in water boiled with special flowers, then would gather herbs such as mugwort (surichwi) and motherwort at the peak of the day. The dried herbs served important rituals during the rest of the year, either to stimulate appetites or drive away ghosts.