Doll Festival

Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) is celebrated in Japan on March 3rd. It is also called Girls Day, or Peach Festival (Momo no Sekku). As early as February, people display a set of ornamental dolls in public places and in homes that have girls. It is a special day to pray for a healthy growth and a happy future for the girls. When the festival is over, the dolls are immediately kept away. According to superstition, dolls left on display after the festival may result in late marriages.

People started the custom of displaying dolls in the Heian period. They believed the dolls have the power to contain bad spirits. This festival traces its origins to a  Chinese custom called ‘doll floating’. Bad fortune and bad spirits are said to be transferred to straw hina dolls, and then removed by letting the dolls float down the river into the sea.

A typical doll display consists of a seven-tiered doll-stand. The platforms are covered with red carpet, and a set of ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, the Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period. There are also miniature articles and furniture, and offerings of hishimochi and peach blossoms.

On this day, families with daughters celebrate by having a special dinner that consists of:

  • Chirashizushi – sushi rice flavored with sugar, vinegar, topped with raw fish and a variety of ingredients
  • Ushiojiru – a salt-based soup containing clams still in the shell (clam shells are believed to symbolize a united and peaceful couple)
  • Hishimochi – a diamond-shaped colored rice cake
  • Colored Hina-arare – bite-sized crackers flavored with sugar or soy sauce
  • Shirozake – a sake made from fermented rice

Crafty ideas for kids:

Hina Dolls Origami

Emperor and Empress Origami

Paper Cup Dolls

Paper Cup Dolls

 

Advertisements
Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in KidsKorner

You're welcome to think aloud...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Bypaths and Beyond on WordPress.com

miSyel’s quotes

"The beauty of the truth is that it need not be proclaimed or believed. It skips from soul to soul, changing form each time it touches, but it is what it is."— Mark Helprin