Hinamatsuri is a special day in Japan to wish good health and future happiness for young girls. It means Doll Festival, also referred to as Girls' Day, and is celebrated every year on March 3rd, when girls and women dress in their finest kimonos. Starting in February displays of hina-ningyō (ornamental dolls) representing the emperor, empress, attendants, and musicians richly dressed in ancient court costumes of the Heian period go up in homes and public places. The festival's origin comes from an ancient custom called hina-nagashi, in which bad luck is transferred on paper dolls and floated down the river.
At our home we have a mini Hinamatsuri tea party with wagashi (Japanese treats) from Minamoto Kitchoan, which makes their sweets in and delivers from Japan.
This beautiful Hinamatsuri doll set was a gift from Aunt Denise when we visited Japan in the spring of 2014. It is made out of special washi (Japanese paper) boxes, which we love, love, love.
She insisted on being the one to arrange the dolls so I gave her the illustration that came with the doll set. And she did it!
- Top tier holds the imperial dolls, the Empress holds a fan and the Emperor holds a ritual baton.
- The second tier holds a cherry blossom tree, two hishimochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes) and a mandarin orange tree.
- The third tier holds the three court ladies with sake equipment and two bonbori (lamp stands).
- The fourth tier holds the five male musicians: small Taiko drum, large Ōtsuzumi drum, Kotsuzumi hand drum, Yokobue flute, and the singer Utaikata with a fan. On either side are takatsuki, stands for seasonal sweets.
Japanese style sweets from Minamoto Kitchoan and Kobe Fugetsudo.
- Top, L to R: Kobe Fugetsudo gaufre is a paper thin wafer sandwich with vanilla filling; oribenishiki is a rice cake filled with chestnut and azuki bean paste; pale pink sakura crepe filled with azuki bean paste and white bean jelly.
- Middle: peach cake filled with white bean paste; sakuramochi is a rice cake filled with anko and wrapped in a pickled cherry leaf; gaufre with strawberry filling.
- Bottom: matcha rice cake filled with azuki bean paste; gaufre with chocolate filling; tsuya is filled with azuki bean paste sandwiched between mini pancakes.
She took a bite of the wagashi and decided to stick with the gaufre.
We used our pretty ceramic cups from Kyoto.
Hinamatsuri may be meant for young girls but I think we can celebrate all girls and women.
P.S. For boys' there is Kodomo no Hi, meaning Feast of the Banners and also referred to as Children's Day, which is celebrated on May 5th.
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