While the Mexico and parts of the US celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5th, South Korea is having a celebration of its own.....it is Children's Day! This holiday is a bigger deal than Christmas and Easter for the kids of South Korea. In fact, for many children, this day probably rivels their birthday for the "Best Day Ever" award.
Children's Day has been observed for almost 100 years, although not always in May and excepting a number of years when it was known as "Boys' Day". Not until the addition of the children's welfare law of 1961 was Children's Day observed as a national holiday on May 5th. This holiday is day when parents are encouraged to celebrate their children. They are given the day off from work as a reminder that children require and deserve our love, care, and respect. On this day throughout Korea, parks are filled with families, children's workers are honored, and free activites abound for all. Children are given gifts, fed their favorite foods and games are played. It is truly a fun day for all!
However, as a westerner looking in, I have always wondered why there is a need for such a holiday. After all, in the US, we have Christmas and Easter which are almost entirely devoted to the fun of children. For a while, I thought that Children's Day was Korea's version of these Christian holidays, minus the elf and bunny of course! But, now, I truly believe that this holiday is much more. Yes, it is important for all of us to remember that our children deserved to be treated with dignity and kindness, but I actually believe that this holiday holds a greater importance which may not even be noticed by Koreans. In a culture where at least one parent works long days and probably even countless nights, this is a day that reminds children that they are what matter most in our lives. When work demands our attention or chores keep us from laughing enough, Koreans stop ..... just for a day..... and remember what matters most - children. Children are what matter and the precious time that we give them. Those few minutes that we stop what matter most to us to give our children what matters most to them; we give them our time.
Today, I will stop ..... I will give my angel time. I will take a moment to listen, to follow, and to cherish what matters most - my time.