Carp banners are being flown by the District of Sparwood this week as they celebrate Children’s Day with their Japanese sister city, Kamisunagawa.
According to a release from the district, they honour the Japanese holiday by raising ‘carp banners’ annually on the week of May 5, the same day that Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day) is celebrated in Japan.
They also celebrate by learning, colouring, and discovering, the release says.
“On this national holiday, children are respected and honored for their individual strengths and happiness is wished upon them.”
In recognition of the day, Koinobori, or cloth carp streamers, are flown from poles outside public buildings and private homes to bring luck and good fortune to children inside.
“Koi fish, or Carp, are believed to be strong, spirited fish and are revered for their determination in fighting as they swim upstream and through powerful waterfalls,” the release says.
In Sparwood, on top of the symbolic carp streamers, about 100 children from pre-school, kindergarten and grade 1 were welcomed to the district office to learn about the day and ask questions of the mayor, David Wilks.
“(We) tell them to represent good health and happiness throughout their life,” he said.
“It’s pretty cool, this experience, and the kids seem to enjoy it.”
According to Wilks, the connection between Kamisunagawa and Sparwood has existed since the 80s or 90s.
Council at the time reached out to the Japanese town, which Wilks said was around the same size as Sparwood. Kamisunagawa was a coal mining town at one point in time, but no longer, he said.
“But we still stay in contact with them, we still exchange pleasantries at Christmas and such things, and Children’s Day. So from that perspective we still stay in touch.”