Carp kites on line flying against blue sky

Carp Kites or Koinobori

Carp kites, or koinobori, are kites in the shape of carp fish, which are hung outside houses by families on Children's Day in Japan.

Children’s Day is celebrated every May 5. It was first known as Boys’ Day — with Girls’ Day held on March 3 — and colorful koinobori or carp banners were flown to represent children's courage and resilience. After 1948, it was changed to Children’s Day although it seems many families still focus on their male children on this day, understandable since girls continue to have their own holiday in early March.

In Japanese culture, the carp in general symbolizes the strength and determination to overcome obstacles. Considered the most spirited of fish, it stands for courage and reaching high goals due to its ability to swim up waterfalls.

Learn more about fish in Asian cultures.

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