Hina Matsuri (aka Girls’ Day or Doll’s Day)

Every March 3rd, Hina Matsuri (雛祭り) is celebrated in Japan. The protagonists of this holiday are the girls, hence the alternative name ‘Girls’ Day’. It’s one of the five seasonal festival or gosekku (五節句) established by the Tokugawa shogunate (1600-1868) as holiday. Other gosekku are, for example, Children’s Day or Kodomo no Hi (子供の日) and Tanabata or Star Festival (七夕). Hina Matsuri is also celebrated when peach trees start to bloom, so this holiday is also known as the Peach Festival or Momo no sekku (桃の節句). What’s more, the peach is related to feminity.
Hina Matsuri a very popular holiday in Japan in which several rituals are performed to wish for the girls’ health and luck. Among these rituals, the most famous one is the platform with a set of ornamental dolls, the hina ningyō (雛人形), which represent the Emperor, the Empress, the attendants and the musicians dressed in traditional court Heian period clothes. All the platform is covered with a red carpet material. The dolls are family treasures or presents given by the grandparents. Performing this ritual allow families to wish for their girls’ health, luck, happiness and marriage. After March 3rd, this platform must be dismantled quickly, because if it’s not, girls may not be able to get married or may get married very late in their lives.
And if we talk about food, Hina Matsuri has some typical ones. Some of them are hina-arare (雛あられ, multi-colored rice crackers), chirashizushi (ちらし寿司, sushi in a bowl or bento box) and its own non-alcoholic sake, the shirozake (白酒) or sweet sake (甘酒).

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