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Fish appear prominent in this week’s celebrations

Date Posted: 2006-05-05

Everywhere across Okinawa, fish are hanging, flying, swimming.

From gardens to apartment balconies to roadside pillars, fish are flying in commemoration of tomorrow’s Children’s Day. Koinobori is the official name for the carp streamers, carp being a popular, often revered fish in Japan.

Although carps are most commonly seen in artificial ponds and streams in Japan, they also live in wild in sweet water rivers, and Chinese have many recipes for the carp.

For this holiday, parents are praying for health and happiness of their children, and the carp’s special magical powers figure prominently into the process. The carp lives its life swimming against waterfalls, becoming very strong. Parents want to see the same strengths in their children. “Be strong as a carp,” they ask their children. “Even a strong enemy should fight with the carp and go to a higher place.”

Children’s Day is more focused on boys, because the Girls Day, March 3rd, focused on Hina-ningyo, dolls.

In northern Okinawa, carp are abundant. In the rivers of Higashi Village and Motobu Town, carp are swimming everywhere. And in the air this week, look for the carp to cut a colorful figure flying in the breezes, as well.

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