Day of the Child

It's May, and the carp are swimming through the skies of Japan! Well, not really . . . but close enough. In 1948, the Japanese government designated the fifth day of the fifth month as an annual national holiday: "Day of the Child", Kodomo no hi (こどもの日). This day is set aside to celebrate children and wish for their happiness. The fifth of May was originally called Tango no Sekku (端午の節句) and was only intended for boys; girls had their own day, Hina Matsuri (雛祭り), "Festival of Dolls", on the third of March. Both boys and girls, however, are celebrated on Kodomo no hi. In honour of the day, families fly carp-shaped banners or windsocks, known as koinobori (鯉幟), one for each child. When the wind blows, the banners look like swimming fish. Families who live in apartments may use miniature versions that can be used indoors. The carp signifies strength and success, for they are a hardy and adaptable fish. Traditionally, on Boy's Day, a tiered stand was set more »

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