Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi) is one of the Japanese National Holidays that occurs in Golden week.
It takes place on the 5th day of the 5th Month… Or May 5th…
The day was originally boy’s day but has become over time children’s days. In 1948, the government decreed this day to be a national holiday to celebrate the happiness of all children and to express gratitude toward mothers.
Prior to the day, families raise various sized and patterned, carp-shaped koinobori kites outside their houses one for each child.
When I ask why Carp, I get many answers.. Carp are one of the most determined fish—strong and powerful so they can fight their way upstream regardless of obstacles, just the traits they want in their children.
Also in Chinese legend a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon so when the flags blow in the wind you can imagine them swimming upstream to become mini dragons !
My understanding is that the Black carp represents the father, the red carp the mother and then one for each child. But I see so many variations, I’m not sure that hold entirely true anymore. It seems some people are traditional and some put up what pleases them! Apparently special Mochi wrapped in kashiwa (oak) leaves —kashiwa-mochi (are traditionally served on this day. Given my love of mochi, I’m rather sad to miss this.