The most visible symbol of Children's Day to most people is the , or fish kite (sometimes called a koi kite or carp kite). These are colorful windsocks shaped like a long koi. They are usually tied to a bamboo pole, where the wind catches them and makes them look like they're "swimming."
According to a Chinese legend, a carp swam upstream to become a dragon. Since it is energetic and courageous in the way it goes against the current -- it leaps out of the water when it swims -- the koi is a metaphor for parents' hopes for their children, particularly their sons.
The exact date and origin of the kite is not known but it is believed that they were flown in China more than two thousand years ago. One legend suggests that when a Chinese farmer tied a string to his hat to keep it from blowing away in a strong wind, the first kite was born.
Kites were brought to Japan about the 7th century by Buddhist monks from China. They were used to avert evil spirits and to insure rich harvests.
If the couple decides to have a Shinto ceremony, the bride will wear a traditional, white bridal kimono, like the one pictured below (though this was not at the embassy exhibit). In Japan, white symbolizes purity, elegance and "new beginning."
さよなら今 (Bye now!)