With the chill of winter starting to fade, and plum blossoms blooming shyly across the land, the atmosphere is perfect for Hina Matsuri! This festival is held across Japan on March 3 to celebrate female children, and pray for their continued health and happiness. 🌸
The main part of the festival is of course, the beautiful dolls! Families display ceramic dolls dressed in ornate, decorative robes from the ancient Heian Period. These figures are often handmade, and are stunning examples of traditional Japanese craftwork, with some being handed down through generations. The dolls are displayed on a red-carpeted tiered platform; on the top are the Emperor and Empress, and sitting on the lower tiers are nobles, court ladies, musicians, and attendants who are often surrounded by elaborate tools like sake cups, chests of drawers, rickshaws, and more.
Girls celebrate the festival by throwing parties with their friends, eating colorful sweets like hina-arare (sugar rice crackers), and hishi-mochi, ceremonial diamond shaped mochi rice cakes. Elaborately constructed chirashi-zushi (deconstructed sushi) is also a common Hina Matsuri dish.
On this day celebrating girls and womanhood, did anyone spare a thought for the poor boys? Fear not! They also have their own festival day, on May 5; keep an eye out for that blog post!