May 5th used to be Boy's Day in Japan but is now known as Children's Day, but boys are honored most on this day. A symbol for Boy's Day is the carp, or koi. In school boys make the origami carp. To the Japanese the carp symbolizes strength, courage, and success. On Boy's day families fly kites shaped like carp, hoping their sons will grow up to be strong, brave, and successful. The largest, and highest kite represents the oldest son in a family.
The boys dress like samurai warriors on this day, and fold their own origami helmets, or kabuto.
Another symbol of Children's Day is the iris, or shobu. Shobu also means 'competition'. On this day boys have to show their bravery, and they take baths with irises in the water. Origami irises are also made for the boys. The origami iris is harder to make and are sometimes as beautiful as the real flower.
The Japanese have adopted the Chinese belief that irises keep bad things away.
Click here to read more about the Boy's Festival.
Click here for instructions on how to make an origami carp.
Click here for instructions on how to make your own origami helmet.
Click here for a video on how to make an origami iris.