Friday, May 4, 2012

Carp Streamer

 Tomorrow May 5 is Children's Day, a national holiday in Japan. Families with young boys put up koinobori, or carp streamers outside, and some display dolls patterned after historical warriors and heroes inside, to pray for success in life. (For girls, Hina Dolls are displayed on March 3. See my post on Hina Dolls.)
As there is a legend that carp swim up waterfall and become dragons, they represent strength and patience, and the reaching of a goal. Parents hoist carp streamers to wish for their boys' growth.

Every year various carp streamer festivals are held across Japan around this time. Today I went to Akutagawa River in Takatsuki city, located between Osaka and Kyoto, to see as many as 1000 large and small carp streamers. It's really fantastic to see so many carp streamers swimming in the sky. It was windy and a little rainy, so even more these carp looked as if they struggle to swim up into the dragon.

The picture below shows a common set for a family. Basically it consists of four streamers: simple streamer, three carp-shaped ones which represent father, mother and son. Add more, when another child is born.
The other day, I presented a set of carp streamers to my dear grandson, Rintaro. Tomorrow is his one-year-old birthday, too.

This is linking to Skywatch Friday.


  1. that is really nice tradition! Thank you for sharing! My Tuesday Travel is here.

  2. What a fun-looking decorative tradition! There is not much news out of Japan here and we would like to hear
    more of both your traditional world and your contemporary world!

  3. This is a wonderful festival and delightful tradition, Annie. The symbolism behind the carp streamers is very apt.
    Lovely photos!

  4. The carp streamers sure liven up the sky. What a fun tradition, and your Hina dolls are beautiful. May your grandson grow strong and healthy.

  5. It makes quite a lovely sight to see the carp flying en masse across the sky.

  6. What a wonderful tradition! I love the streamers. :)
    I guess this is the boy counterpart to the doll tradition with the girls?

  7. Those flying carp shots are just lovely!

  8. Happy Birthday, Rintaro! How special to be born on Childrens Day! The carp are beautiful.

  9. Beautiful photos. Happy sky watching.

    My Sky.

  10. That's fascinating! The carp streamers are beautiful. My Aussie children would love it if there was Children's Day here!