Monday, May 6, 2013

Flying Carp: Nagasaki and Fukuoka Prefectures

Flying Carp is a scene that everyone should get a view of.  I look forward every year to see the Flying Carp in Nagasaki and Fukuoka fly strongly and proudly in the fresh spring winds. On May 5th every year Japan celebrates Children's Day which used to be known as Boy's day.  The flying Carps are a symbolic sign for the children to be healthy for the coming year and really emphasizes the close knit and strong bonds that are created by the extended family all pitching in to help raise the children together unlike our western nuclear family concept.

The tradition is said to have begun in the Edo period (1603-1868) based on a Chinese legend about a strong brave carp swimming upstream and becoming a dragon.   The Tango no Sekku (Tango Festival) for boys was celebrated on May 5th by putting up carp-shaped streamers made of cloth and other material in their gardens.  Families announced the birth of a boy and wished for his healthy growth.

The Nagasaki flying carps have gradually changed over time.  Originally made only in black, other colors like red and blue were added and baby carps are now flown with the larger ones to symbolize the family.  I am extremely glad that this change has taken place as I couldn't imagine the Nagasaki Flying Carp only being in black as it would feel more like a funeral than a celebration of the Japanese children.

I love to stare and look at all the special feature of the flying carp they are unique and absolutely are a fascinating thing to watch.

Click on the Flying Carp pictures below to enlarge:

Impressive to say the least

Every year in May

Lots of color

Popular with all ages

Can never get to much Carp

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