Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Playtime!: Hinamatsuri

We spent our summers in Japan, so we missed out on the celebrations that happened during other months of the year, like Hinamatsuri.  On March 3rd the Japanese celebrate Hinamatsuri, also known as Doll Festival or Girls' Day.  Hinamatsuri probably originates with the ancient Chinese who believed that the sins of the body and any misfortunes could be transferred to a doll and washed away by setting the doll adrift in a river. When this practice spread to Japan, it was linked to girls playing with dolls in the Edo Period (1603-1876) and developed into what is now known a Hinamatsuri.

This festival is celebrated in virtually every girl's home with a large, multi-tiered platform that displays dolls representing the Emperor, Empress and Court from te Heian period.  Families take the opportunity on this day to pray for their daughters' health and happiness.

We love the idea of a holiday that celebrates being a girl!  If you have a daughter, today might be a time to focus on her.  Pull out all the dolls and play pretend, do some Hinamatsuri crafts and make some special treats together.  Speaking of treats, there are some special dishes for the festival including hishimochi(diamond-shaped rice cakes) in layers of red (or pink), white, and green. The red is for chasing evil spirits away, the white is for purity, and the green is for health.  Another traditional dish popular on this day is chirashizushi - seafood, mushroom and vegetables spread over sushi rice.

There is also a charming song known as the Hinamatsuri song and translates to:
Let’s light up the lanterns.
Let’s offer them peach flowers
Hear the flute and the drums.
Today is happy hinamatsuri.

Here is a great link for some origami dolls and if you're feeling a bit more ambitious, you can try this paper craft here.

However you choose to celebrate Hinamatsuri, we hope your day is full of girl power!

1 comment:

MamaQ said...

mamaD, i really enjoyed this post! what a fun holiday hinamatsuri is. we should get mom to bring us home some dolls, don't you think?