Doll’s Festival~Hina-matsuri “Girls’ Day”~ on March 3rd

By TERRY - Last updated: 土曜日, 3月 6, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

 On March 3rd,  people  celebrate  “Hina-matsuri” (/雛祭り,the “Dolls’ Festival”(Girls’ Day) in Japan.  It is said this festival started during the Heian period (794-1192)  as a kind of  game among aristocrats, and  was so prevalent even among commoners during the Edo Period (1602-1868). This festival is  held in order to bless girls for longevity and hapiness.800px-Hina_matsuri_display 

 A family that  has a girl exhibit a  special multi-laywer set of dolls called “Hina Ningyou”(/雛人形,the doll(s) for the Dolls’ Festival), which includes dolls of  “Odairi-sama”(お内裏様, emperor and empress, sometimes the empress doll is called “Ohina-sama”(/お雛様)), “San-nin Kanjyo”(/三人官女, the three court ladies), “Go-nin Bayashi”(五人囃子, the five court musicians),and some furniture and stuff, though some families decorate only the two dolls of  Odairi-sama.  Some gorgeous set can cost hundreds of thousands yen, while some  simple two- doll set can be available at  some thousands yen.

 In ancient times,  the festival was called “Momo no Sekku”(/桃の節句, the season-related Festival of Peach), while a Boys’ Festival on May 5th was called “Tango no Sekku”(端午の節句,the season-related Festival of the beginning fifthday of the month). However, since The Boys’  Day was designated a public holiday as  “Kodomo no Hi” (こどもの日, Children’s Day) in 1948,  Momo no Sekku has been called “Hina-matsuri” or “Girls’ Day”.

Traditionally,  on the Hina-matsuri day,  a family that has a girl or a woman gets  together at home and  drinks Ama-zake(/甘酒, sweet wine made from rice and usually containing no alcohol so that young children can drink it ) and eats special sweets, such as Arare(/あられ, cubic rice crackers),Sakura-mochi(/桜餅, a traditional Japanese sweet of  sweet pink rice cake and red bean paste covered with a leaf of  cherry blossom), and others.amazake arare-22haruyou1200px-A_rice_cake_filled_with_sweet_bean_paste_and_wrapped_in_a_pickled_cherry_leaf,katori-city,japan

 Nowadays, just after the  whirlwind rush of  commercial campaigns, department stores and confectionery companies start another rush of  sales campaigns of  “Hina-matsuri  sweets” including western cakes specifically prepared for the Girls’ Day.70726f647563742f323734613531306361652e6a70670032353000img10302560330win09-29t4wakearihina

And  sometimes at school, daycares, and kindergartens,  parties are held , and  mothers sometimes make special lunches for Hina-matsuri.  

At my house,  this year,   my family celebrated the Girls’ Day decorating  Odairi-sama dolls, drinking Ama-zake, and eating  sweets like Arare, cakes, Sakura-mochi, and others. We enjoyed ourselves very much though my mother is the only one “girl” in ma family.  🙂  

  Some municipalities host  supecial hinamatsui events, such as the one of  3000 dolls’  exhibition of  Yashiro City in Kumamoto Pref. 20100213004_DAT_20100213235544001

and  “Youkai Hina-matsuri” (Monster Hina-matsuri) in Sakaiminato City in Tottori Pref.  This city is  the hometown of  Shigeru Mizuki(/水木しげる), a famous cartoonist of  popular monster manga , such as “Gegege no Kitaro”(/ゲゲゲの鬼太郎).mizuki

Therefore, at that festival,  the dolls were all monsters of  his works’  characters designed by him, which are all popular even among children. trd1003042104004-n1    By the way, the next NHK’s  morining drama which is going to start from this Mar.29th on is “Gegege no Nyoubou”(/ゲゲゲの女房, The Wife of Gegege) is based on the biography of  the wife of Mizuki.

Some  communities, colleges, and other societies invite foreign students and visitors to their Girls’ Day-related events  for cultural exchange. So,  eventually,  this festival may be celebrated internationally.

Posted in Lifestyle, Old and New Cultural Scenes in Japan • • Top Of Page
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