Koinobori – carp streamer – or as my kids call them Fish Flags – have been flying all over Okinawa for the last few days. They are put up in celebration of Tango no sekku, or Children’s Day, which is celebrated on Friday, May 5th this year. The day marks the end of what is called “Golden Week” Throughout Japan, as multiple holidays are celebrated all at the same time. It is the longest week of vacation in Japan and many businesses are closed during the 9-10 day stretch. In the fall, there is also Silver Week, another stretch of holidays in the same week
The flag colors, size and number on a household have various meanings, mostly referring to parents, number of kids, etc… Black usually refers to the father, Pink or red to the mother, and then the kids will have colors after that.
Children’s day used to be called Boys Day, but was changed to Children’s Day to celebrate the long life, happiness and strength of both boys and girls. Interestingly, Girls Day is still celebrated in early March.
Our kids just loved running through the flags in a park not far from our house. Most houses only have a couple of flags and the large number here are usually just at the local schools or at the town hall. Owen wanted to touch all of them.