US $323

Koinobori - Boys Festival
Ribbon, Papers – card, metallic, Optix
Framed size 700 x 500mm
What is it?
Held on May 5th, this children’s festival is a day for families to celebrate their childrens’ strength and character, and to bestow courage, determination, good health and fortune for their futures.  Traditionally this was just for celebrating the boys in families and many Japanese families still only honour boys on this day.
Families raise the koinobori, which are carp-shaped flags. The flags are shaped like carp because the Japanese consider it a spirited fish which can fight its way up strong rivers. Its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles show courage and the ability to attain high goals, traits which are desired in boys.
One carp flag is hung out for each boy in the house from April to early May.
Traditionally, a black koinobori representing the father was followed by a red koinobori which was for the eldest son, with blue and additional colours for younger brothers. More modern versions use a red or pink carp for the mother and daughters.
Families often also display samurai dolls, helmets (kabuto), and armour which are symbols of strength and vitality. Displaying them is considered a charm used to protect against disease and disaster.
The day was originally called Tango no sekku – one of the five annual ceremonies held at the imperial court – and was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth moon in the Chinese calendar. After Japan switched to the Gregorian calendar, the date was moved to May 5.
Many of the symbols of this day are about having the character of a warrior. It was celebrated as boy’s day until 1948, when it was designated a national holiday and changed to Children’s Day.
Fun Facts
  • Kashiwa-mochi, sticky rice cakes filled with red bean jam and wrapped in oak leaves, are traditionally served on this day. Oak leaves are regarded to be a symbol of prosperity because they don't fall until a new sprout has emerged.
  • Chimaki, sticky sweet rice wrapped in an iris or bamboo leaf are also served. The iris shobu has long leaves that resemble swords.
  • Boys traditionally take shobu leaf baths on this day.
  • In 1988, a 100m long koinobori weighing 350kg was made in Kazo, Saitama.

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