Photo by Flickr user HYG_a2c/Creative Commons
Photo by Flickr user PaulSteinJC/Creative Commons
Photo by Flickr user PaulSteinJC/Creative Commons

Two diverse and unique cultures will come together this Sunday to celebrate their history and heritage at the Japanese Boys’ Day and Cinco de Mayo celebrations at Mariachi Plaza.

Boys’ Day or Tango no Sekku honors boys by hanging colorful carp kites or flags (Koinoburi) outside the family home. One kite is hung for each boy in the family; the largest kite at the top represents the eldest son. These kites symbolize a family’s wish for their sons to grow up with courage and attain high goals. In 1948, the holiday, celebrated on May 5, was designated as Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi), to celebrate the happiness of all children and to express gratitude toward mothers.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla.   The Mexican victory prevented the French from aiding the Confederacy during America’s Civil War.   Although Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride in the United States, the day is only celebrated in a few regions of Mexico.

Boyle Heights has a diverse history as it has been home to immigrants from Mexico, Japan, England, Germany, Russia and Armenia as well as people from the east, the south and the southwest portions of the United States who live, work and worship in the area.   The Japanese community lived in the area from the 1920s until after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. The following year all Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to internment camps. This included the Japanese community in Boyle Heights.

Although, many of the homes and businesses are still owned by Japanese-Americans, Boyle Heights is not as diverse as it was in the past. Today, the area is 94 percent Latino and approximately six percent white, Asian, African American and other.

Corazon Del Pueblo board member  John Erik Berrios, 41, recalls celebrating Boys’ Day in his Japanese grandmother’s home as a half Japanese, half Mexican child, “My grandmother displayed koinobori (carp windsocks) outside her house. She told us it was for good luck . ..She explained that the carp were considered powerful and strong enough to battle the swim upstream. She would tell us to learn from the fish. No matter what obstacles present themselves in life we have to be strong enough to fight through them.”

Photo by Flickr user HYG_a2c/Creative Commons
Photo by Flickr user HYG_a2c/Creative Commons

Join the First Street block party from Boyle Avenue to State Street for a day filled with international and traditional foods, children’s market area, vendors, art and activities and performances from a martial arts group and a Folklorico dance troupe.

The Boyle Heights Certified Farmer’s Market and Hayashi Realty welcome all to attend this free event.

Boys’ Day & Cinco de Mayo Event

Mariachi Plaza

1836 East 1st St, Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, May 5, 10a.m. to 10p.m.

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