What a fantastic night last Friday – have a look at some of the images of the Children’s Day celebrations at NERAM. Children’s Day – Kodomo no hi – is a traditional Japanese festival celebrated each year in May where families fly koinobori banners in the shape of a carp for each child in their house and pray that their children will grow up to be strong, happy, and healthy.
Class 6 Armidale Waldorf School along with children from the Armidale Japanese School performed a short play at NERAM called ‘The Courageous Carp’. The play was directed by Dr Lynn Everett (School of Education, UNE), with lots of help from Mayumi Takayama (TAJS), Joanne Lowe (Class 6 teacher TAWS) Kim Scales (TAWS), and Margaret Brooks (UNE).
In Japanese folklore, the carp is a symbol of determination and vigour, overcoming all obstacles to swim upstream, and so becoming a white dragon. This folk story was acted out by creating a mighty river with layers of moving blue fabric to depict the flowing water. They will portray the many carp that valiantly try to swim up river but fall back again and again until, finally, one courageous carp swims all the way to the top of the waterfall and into ‘The Dragon’s Gate’. Once here, it transforms magically into a white dragon. Kim Scales created a truly amazing dragon and the children made it come alive through movement and music. The play was a great spectacle for the audience – a feast for the eyes and the ears that included traditional songs, and musical accompaniment by the children, Zana Clarke, Peter Biffin, and Ben Thorn.
The play is part of an art exhibition called The Koinobori Project, by local and Japanese artists. Children from schools in Armidale have created hundreds of koinobori that are on display.