Monday, May 05, 2008

Children's Day

A couple of weeks ago Tetsu took me off on another jaunt so that I could take pictures and introduce blog friends to another custom of Japan. Today is May 5th and it is a national holiday in honor of Boys' Day sometimes called Children's Day.

For the past couple weeks as Boys' Day drew closer, the farm houses in the countryside have been sporting these colorful carp banners called "Koinobori" and I love seeing the fluttering carp against the light green of the rice fields and the blue sky. It is worth going out into the countryside if you're in Japan at this time of year because in the cities and residential areas of Japan there is just not enough space to fly these.

Tetsu and I (and Choco) found our way to a city which was having a koinobori festival and the park boasts of having the largest number of flying carp in the world. I think it was even recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records. According to the posters around the park there are over 5000 koinobori that fly along the riverside and span the river and it was a beautiful site! It looked like some of the koinobori had been made by local boy scout groups, kindergartens and schools because many of them were hand painted.

Japanese families will fly koinobori to celebrate the birth of a boy in the family and the carp swimming upstream are supposed to depict good health and the strength to overcome difficulties in life. As more and more young families move to the big cities only the older people are left at the farm houses so koinobori isn't as common a site as I remember it when I first came to Japan, but it is fun to drive along and here and there spot the banners in the distance. Actually I think I wrote all this last year so this is old news to some of you but new pictures!

And here is my koinobori tapestry that hangs in the entryway. (I showed this last year too.) For Girls' Day (March 3rd) there is a Doll festival and this is my Japanese doll tapestry that I also made years and years ago.

Happy Children's Day!


Katie said...

Happy Children's Day to you! Looks like a neat celegration. Thanks for sharing.

Shelina said...

What a lovely tradition! I love seeing all the flying carp. Here we are gearing up for Mother's and Father's Day, as you know, and it is mostly about buying things.

anne bebbington said...

I remember your posting from last year - I so love your carp wallhanging - but it's lovely to see the new photos and all those flying fish are so cheery - looks like the weather was kind to you too :o)

artfilstitch said...

Happy Children's Day! I love the Flying Carp, the colors are heavenly. I love how the families are so involved with their children. Not so much TV as the US.

Julie said...

Hi, Tanya. I am so glad I found your blog. I love the photos of the flying carp for Boy's Day. So colorful!