March 3rd is Hina-matsuri (雛祭り/Doll’s Festival) in Japan. Hina-matsuri, also known as “Girl’s Day” is an annual celebration which began in the Heian period. In February families which have daughters display Hina dolls in their homes. The dolls are then taken down straight after the festival. It is said that it’s bad luck to leave the dolls up past March 4th, and it will lead to a late marriage for the daughter. The dolls are displayed on a set of steps (usually consisting of five or seven tiers), and there’s a particular way to place them. It looks something like this:
The main purpose of Hina-matsuri is to pray for the growth and happiness of young girls. That’s why Hina-matsuri is generally celebrated by people with daughters in their families (and usually while the girls are young/still living at home).
In Japan, whenever there’s some event or festival, you can always find products in the shops relating to it – usually food items. The most common food product for Hina-matsuri is called “Hina-arare“.
“Hina-arare” are tiny, coloured, sweet rice crackers. They remind me of Rainbow Drops, which I used to eat when I was a kid! These “Hina-arare” are sickeningly sweet, but kind of nice. I can’t eat many though!
I found some other goodies in the shops too…
This is a Hina-matsuri “dorayaki” (どら焼). I love “dorayaki”! They’re like thick pancakes with something sandwiched in the middle (usually red beans). This one had a strawberry filling which, according to the packet is made of “rare cheese”. I still haven’t quite figured out what “rare cheese” is…
These Hina-matusri “Ichigo Papiro” actually weren’t that yummy, but they only cost ￥100 in the 100 Yen store. I bought them for the box really!
Finally, my favourite discovery was this amazing “chirashizushi” (scattered sushi) with a cute Hina-matsuri picture:
So, if you have girls in your family, why not celebrate Hina-matsuri this year and wish for their happiness! 🙂