Doll’s Day (Hinamatsuri)

Are the Three Court Ladies Sisters Like Us?


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March 3 is a special day in Japan. That's right - Hinamatsuri - the Girls' Day! It's a seasonal festival that expresses wishes for the healthy growth and happiness of girls. It's always been an important event for my family as I am one of three sisters.


Today, I'd like to tell you how my family celebrates Hinamatsuri.


Every year, our family displays a set of these Hinamatsuri dolls, called hina ningyo. Some families with multiple girls may own the same number of separate doll sets as the number of girls in the family, but for us, this is it for the three of us. This doll set is also a huge music box in a glass case, and it plays the traditional Doll Festival song Ureshii Hinamatsuri, which means Happy Doll Festival. As we looked at these dolls when we were little, we used to say, "Odairi-sama (the Emperor doll) is our dad, and Ohina-sama (the Empress doll) our mom, and these three San-nin Kanjo court ladies sitting on the lower platform are us!"


When I was little, on March 3, I often invited my close friends in the neighborhood and ate traditional Hinamatsuri food like chirashi-zushi (literally meaning "scattered sushi": sushi rice in a bowl served with various fresh ingredients on top), clam soup, hina-arare sweet crispy rice crackers, and of course a Hinamatsuri-themed cake, with them. We celebrated the day with those colorful foods and sang Ureshii Hinamatsuri!


This is a bag of hina-arare sweet rice crackers. I love hina-arare in particular among all the Hinamatsuri foods because I love its delicate, subtle sweetness and its cute, spring-like colors. I often snack on hina-arare during the Hinamatsuri season. (*^^*)


I didn't know much about the meaning and the history of Hinamatsuri as a little child. All I knew back then was that it was a day for a wonderful feast!

This year, my family and I didn't celebrate the event as spectacularly as we did in the past, but we spent the day having chirashi-zushi and clam soup, and snacked on those sweet little hina-arare rice crackers together.

Until now, March 3 meant someone was celebrating this special occasion for me, but this year, as I turned 20 and celebrated Hinamatsuri again, I thought: "I must thank my parents for raising me for all these years!"


Translation: Michele Yamada

Tomomi         Author:Tomomi

I graduated from university in March, 2015.

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