children’s day (kodomo no hi)

flying carp kites in uruma city

While many people in the West are celebrating Cinco de Mayo today, here in Japan we’re celebrating Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day. It’s part of Golden Week that includes several holidays and is a day that honors happiness of children. Previously, the day was primarily for boys and another day was set aside for girls, but now the day celebrates both boys and girls.

Before and during the holiday, carp fish kites, or koinobori, are flown across waterways to show the carp swimming upstream. As a legend tells, the carp turns into a dragon upstream. For families, the kites are raised for the children in their households. Each person in the household is represented by specific colors of black, red, blue, green, and pink. The number of kites and colors denote how many boys or children are in the home and their birth position in the family.

It’s quite an interesting site to see all of these kites floating around town. They really brighten up the dreary rain season that we’re in now and make you feel like this is a day of celebration. Plus, it’s a lovely way to get out with the family and create a tradition of going to see the koinobori around town.

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3 thoughts on “children’s day (kodomo no hi)

  1. Is this the origin of the story? I’ve heard of many similar but I don’t know very much about it or whether there are different ones for different places.

    • There’s a lot of Chinese influence here on Okinawa, and I believe it’s a Chinese legend about the carp turning into dragons upstream. Other than that, I’m not sure of the origin. I’m sure the story and the children’s holiday are celebrated somewhat differently in other countries in Asia because they’re all so unique.

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