If you see colorful carp windsocks flying in the breeze in Japan, no doubt it’s close to May 5th, the Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day), the day to celebrate the health and happiness of all children.
On Kodomo-no-hi children go around to thank their parents, teachers and relatives for caring for them, and to humbly ask for their continued support as they grow up.
The wind socks are called Koinobori, made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth or other fabric, and strung out to flutter everywhere–from city streets to the countryside.
In Japan, carps (Koi) are revered for their playfulness, strength and colorful beauty and considered to be a symbol of health and vigor.
The origin of kashiwamochi dates back to the Edo period (1603–1868.) It is believed that they were popularized because of the symbolism the old oak leaves do not fall off until the new shoots have grown.
Bath of Iris Leaves
The leaves are also hung at entrances and under the eaves of homes to drive away evil spirits.