Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Happy Girl’s Day —“Hina Matsuri”
Today in Japan, families will celebrate their daughters with Hina-Matsuri (a doll festival). Girl’s Day is focused on girls’ happiness and health. The ceremonial hina-Ningyo dolls represent the Emperor, Empress and their court. There are usually at least 15 dolls in a full set. Although many sets are very elaborate and showy, small versions have become attractive to those with smaller homes and apartments.
Hina-Matsuri is celebrated at home. A couple weeks before March 3, the dolls, which have been stored throughout the year, are set out in a special tiered display with a red base to honor the daughters in the home. The dolls, all clothed in rich representations of royal attire, are arranged by status with the Emperor and Empress on the top tier. Small items that represent food, furniture, peach blossoms and other items are also displayed.
Hina-Matsuri is also referred to as Momo-no-Sekku, which means Peach Festival. This is the time when winter moves to spring in Japan and the peach trees are in blossom. The peach blossom symbolizes a happy marriage in Japanese culture; a union parents also hope will be in the daughters’ futures.
The custom was established in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1867). Along with prayers and the wish that young girls will have health and happiness, a special family meal is usually part of the celebration. Mochi (sweet rice cakes), sushi and shirozake (non-alcoholic sake) are often served.
From Kona Bay Fabrics and me, I wish all girls a happy Hina-Matsuri!