Koinobori 鯉のぼり

Koinobori, which in Japanese means “carp streamer,” can often be found hanging in front of houses, shops and rivers around this time. These carp streamers that are made by drawing carp patterns on cloth (or paper), are hung to celebrate Children’s Day on May 5th, the last day of Golden Week.

In the past, Children’s Day was actually celebrated to honor boys. The carp was chosen as a symbol for this day because of its strong will and great power to swim up the river, against the flow. Adults hoped that boys would grow to become determined and courageous like carps. On the other hand, Hinamatsuri or Doll’s Day on March 3rd was celebrated to honor girls. Traditionally, on this day, girls would receive dolls that were passed down to their own grandmothers and mothers.

Although there is still a tendency among many Japanese families to celebrate boys on Children’s Day, it has definitely become a more general event for all Japanese children. Happy Children’s Day to all the children in Japan and around the world!

Koinobori made by children from an elementary school near Mitakadai in Tokyo.

Check out this traditional Children Day’s song!

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