Send in the Dolls - Japan's Girl's Day Celebration
The 3rd day of the 3rd month marks the annual celebration of Girl's Day, referred to as Hina Matsuri or Doll's Festival, in Japan. This special day, used to pray for the health and happiness of daughters, is celebrated both individually in homes as well as on a grander scale in public displays. The food, decorations, and practices observed are all symbolic ways of wishing good luck on girls throughout the country. Here’s a look at this cute and colorful celebration and where you can experience it for yourself.
As the name suggests, Hina Matsuri or Doll's Festival involves decorations of elaborately made dolls which are often placed on special step-alters along with peach blossoms and other accessories which mark the season. The beautiful dolls are dressed as court nobles from the Heian period - a time noted especially for its art, poetry, and literature – with the top two dolls symbolizing the emperor and empress. Another decoration is the Hina No Tsurushi Kazari which are small suspended figurines in symbolic shapes such as peaches, monkeys, and fish which are passed from mother to daughter to protect and nurture the healthy growth of her daughter. The Kyoto National Museum is a wonderful place to see Hina dolls on display from February 13 - March 17, 2019.
For more information: https://www.kyohaku.go.jp/eng/today/
In addition to the more commonly seen seated Hina Dolls, smaller dolls are woven into baskets known as Nagashibina. These handmade dolls are used in local Hina Matsuri festivals for the traditional event of Hinanagashi. During this event, the straw Nagashibina are placed into rivers and streams to float away, taking any bad spirits with them out to sea. Although this is a rarer event, it can still be seen in cities such as Mochigase, Tottori prefecture which also has a Nagashibina Doll Museum for visitors who arrive out of season.
For more information: https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/98/
Of course, no festival in Japan would be complete without festival food and Girl's Day is no exception. Amazake, a sweet drink made from gluttinous rice may mean "sweet alcohol" but there is less than 1% contained making it suitable for people of all ages to enjoy while still keeping with the tradition of imbibing sake for purification. Also enjoyed are Hina Arare, sweet and colorful rice crackers as well as Chirashizushi, a dish of sushi rice, shrimp, egg, and lotus roots for longevity. The colors pink, green, and white are used throughout these dishes to represent snow, peach blossoms, and the first shoots of spring.
For More Information: https://matcha-jp.com/en/753
Information is provided as a courtesy to users of this website. Though the JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgement and at their own risk. Neither the JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.