Friday, May 05, 2006


The fifth day of the fifth month of the year is a special day in Japan. On the fifth of May each year, boys' festival or "Tango-no-Sekku" takes place. In homes, displays of dolls dressed miniature suits of armor representing warriors and legendary heroes are set up. The outward sign of this festival is visible at homes by the appearance of huge cloth "koinobori", also called carp, hanging from flagpoles. The carp is regarded as a very courageous fish because it swims upstream past waterfalls and many other obstacles, thus boys should follow its example by growing up strong and healthy, rising to greatness by overcoming difficulties. My friend, Toshiko, lives in Japan. She says that she loves to see the cloth carps on the poles during this festival. She continues by saying "the carp really look like they are swimming! Countryside people display more than city ones. I don't see any space for them in cities, anyway." I think it's a wonderful idea to have a holiday that honors boys!

Carp photos: International Japanese Test Gardens, Portland, Oregon

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