Koinobori, carp-shaped wind socks, are a big part of Japan’s Children’s Day celebration on May 5th, a day which celebrates and honours boys, while March 3rd is reserved for girls. Carps are chosen as a symbol of strength, courage and determination – attributes desired in boys, and are flown from rooftops throughout the country.
I’ve always loved how children like to collect the most random things, and store them in small containers for safe keeping. So instead of making wind socks, we’ll be making small drawings of carps, and decorating a tin to store them in.
Legend says that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted one wish. It’s a beautiful idea which a young Japanese girl named Sasaki Sadako hoped to achieve. Sasaki was an infant at the time of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, and developed leukemia as a result of her exposure to radiation. At the age of eleven, she began making a senbazuru ( a thousand paper cranes), wishing for her recovery from leukemia. As time went on, however, she began to wish for world peace instead. While she died at the age of twelve, her message was not forgotten. The Children’s Peace Memorial in Hiroshima commemorates the child victims of this bombing, and every year, thousands of origami cranes are sent to Hiroshima by children from all over the world.