Koinobori are carp-looking wind socks that Japanese people hang up to decorate on Children's Day (Tengo no Sekku) which is a National holiday celebrated on May 5th each year. Children's Day is a day to celebrate the happiness of children and to honor mothers.
Originally, Tengo no Sekku was celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th moon of the Lunar calendar. Once Japan adopted the 12 month "Gregorian" calendar, they decided to celebrate on May 5th.
Traditionally, Koinobori are made by drawing carp patterns onto paper or cloth and hanging them to flutter in the wind. Ours is made with a printable template and a cardboard tube which is a little different than tradition, but still fun for the kids!
"The Japanese consider the carp the most spirited fish -- so full of energy and power that it can fight its way up swift-running streams and cascades. Because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals. Since these are traits desired in boys, families traditionally flew Koinobori from their homes to honor their sons." (Japanese American National Museum, 2006)
This is a simple cut and paste paper craft that uses a toilet paper roll as a base to make it three dimensional.
- toilet paper roll,
- Optional: tissue paper or ribbon in a few pretty colors (we used tissue paper)
- single hole punch,
- string, thin ribbon or wool,
- a printer,
- something to color with,
- Optional: pencil or straw
- Print out the craft template of choice.
- I like to use the black and white version of crafts but Kaitlyn prefers the color versions. If you're like me, you get to color in your carp now. Have fun making pretty patterns with the scales.
- Cut out the template pieces. This is fairly easy for beginning scissor users (especially the large rectangular piece).
- Glue the large rectangular piece on first to cover the tube.
- Glue the eyes on either side of the tube so the straight edge of the eye lines up with the straight edge of the tube.
- Glue the fins on either side of the tube. We put ours near the eyes, but you can place them wherever you think they look nice.
- Cut about a dozen strips of tissue paper or ribbon about twice as long as your cardboard tube. The template includes some paper strips that you can use if you don't want to use tissue or ribbon.
- Glue or tape the tissue paper onto the cardboard tube on the opposite end from the eyes.
- Punch two holes, on opposite sides of the cardboard tube, and tie a piece of wool to each hole.
- Use your wool to hang your carp up -- we tied ours to a blue pencil that wasn't sharpened.
- Close the template window after printing to return to this screen.
- Set page margins to zero if you have trouble fitting the template on one page (FILE, PAGE SETUP or FILE, PRINTER SETUP in most browsers).