Children’s Day in Japan
Living here in Japan has given us many opportunities to experience the Japanese culture. It is one like I have never experienced. It’s full of celebrations, family, history and colors. The older generation is sure to pass down traditions and family history to their children and grandchildren. Every month there is some traditional festivals. May’s celebration was Children’s Day.
Children’s Day is a Japanese national holiday that takes place annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month and is part of the Golden Week. It is a day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness. On children’s day, they string these beautifully colored carp fish flags across the rivers.
Parents bring their children to see them and tell them the significance of the flags. Families raise the carp-shaped koi nob Ori flags (carp because of the Chinese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon, and the way the flags blow in the wind looks like they are swimming), with one carp for the father, one for the mother, and one carp for each child (traditionally each son). These flags are a beautiful sight to see.
This year a friend and I took our sons to see the carp flags and to photograph them. We went to a bigger river near where we live. It had been raining the night before, and the puddles were everywhere. The boys were acting like boys, climbing, jumping, splashing and running. They were amazed by not only the fish but also by these puddles. Their reflections and the movement they could make by poking a finger in the water or stomping their foot in the water.