May 5th — Children's Day
is celebrated throughout the nation with families displaying samurai dolls and eating special rice cakes, and flying Koinobori carp-shaped paper streamers that attract strength, health and prosperity for children, particularly boys. Most of the activities are geared for boys because the holiday grew out of the holiday of Boy's Day (Girl's Day is on March 3rd).
The bigger the carp streamer, the older the son. Carps are a popular Japanese symbol. They are admired for their strength and determination to swim upstream, traits that parents want their children to have. These days many Japanese live in apartments as thus the carp streamers have shrunk in size to accommodate being put in small spaces.