Hinamatsuri, Happy Girls’ Day

photo:  Michaelbuddy

3/3 or March 3rd is Hinamtsuri or Girl’s Day in Japan.  It’s also referred to as Momo no Sekku or Peach Festivities. Sekku, was an occasion borrowed from China to signify the change of seasons. Girls’ Day celebrates and prays for a young girl’s growth and happiness.   Coming from a family of five girls, I think it’s a wonderful tradition to have a special day for girls, regardless of what nationality you are!

Why do they use the peach to symbolize this day? March is when the peach flower blooms and the pink flowers are perfect for the young girls.  It is a tradition that the maternal grandparents give Japanese dolls called Hina ningyo to the baby girl.  These dolls are dressed in elaborate kimonos and accessories, as you can see from the photo above.  Today, there are such a variety of dolls from the very simple to elaborate.

The above photo shows a most elaborate  7 tier version. At the top is the Emperor, odairi sama, and Empress, ohina sama.  The second tier has three court ladies, san-nin kanjo, the third include five court musicians, go nin bayashi, the fourth tier has two ministers on either side, called daijin sama and the fifth has three jicho or deputy chiefs.  The last two tiers have various lacquered traditional items and accessories that would be used by the imperial court.

These full sets of Hina dolls can cost thousands of dollars and are often  passed down through generations. If one decides to begin this tradition in their home, they often buy the emperor and empress first and every year will add one doll and maybe a few accessories each year.  This becomes the new family heirloom.

This is also a fun time for little girls to dress in their kimonos and enjoy Japanese sweets. In Hawaii, since the traditional Japanese foods are not as readily available, they often make sweet mochi, rice cake, what the locals call Chi Chi Dango, using mochiko, which is rice flour, and coconut milk.

Chi Chi Dango for Girl’s Day

Ingredients:

      • 1 pound mochiko (rice flour) (16-once box)
        2 cups sugar
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1 can coconut milk (12 oz)
        2 cups water
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        food coloring  – red or green

Method

  • In bowl, sift and mix all dry ingredients together:   one box mochiko, 2 cups sugar and 1 tsp. baking powder.
  • In separate bowl mix wet ingredients together:  1 can coconut milk – shake well before opening, 2 cups water and 1 tsp. vanilla.
  • add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly.
  • add a few drops of food coloring and blend well.
  • pour into greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
  • Important step:  Cover with foil
  • Bake at 350 F for one hour
  • Cool uncovered
  • Cut with plastic knife when mochi is totally cooled

Happy Girls’ day for all girls, big and small!


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3 Comments

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  2. This so reminds me of the ‘Golu festival or navarathri’ we have in South Indian tradition. Usually we depict the our deities from different epics for 9 days in the same tiered fashion. People visit each other and eat the sacred offerings.

  3. @Deepa, Thanks for sharing! Amazing how many of our traditions are so similar. Just shows that we all have the same values regardless of where we are from.

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