Hinamatsuri is celebrated each year on the 3rd of March, and is traditionally a day dedicated to girls, in the way “Kodomo no hi” (5th of May) was originally dedicated to boys. The celebration is marked in homes with young daughters by the display of hina (雛) dolls representing the Emperor, Empress and various attendants in traditional dress of the Heian period (794-1185 AD). The simplest displays are made up of a stand with two dolls, but more elaborate displays may have up to 8 tiers, and include more characters and objects. The dolls are displayed from mid/late January until Hinamatsuri itself. The display is put away soon after the 3rd of March, as there is a superstition that leaving it out too long will delay one’s daughter’s marriage.
The festival is related to an event known as nagashibina, during which dolls are set adrift on water to get rid of bad spirits. One such event – Edo Nagashibina – takes place each year on the Sumida river in Tokyo.
Foods to prepare for Hinamatsuri
In addition to display hina (雛) dolls to ward off misfortune for girls, we celebrate with event foods as below that wishes for their happiness and healthy growth.
It is small crisps made of rice flour flavored with sugar or soy sauce.
It is three-tiered diamond-shaped rice cakes coloured pink, white and green. It is said that pink means peach, green means land and white means snow and they express the season.
The word “chirashi” means “scattered”, so this is a big bowl of sushi rice mixed with sashimi (raw fish), shrimp, salmon roe, lotus root, and kinshi tamago (shredded egg omelette).
＊はまぐりのお吸い物：Clam cherrystone soup
It is a soup made from clam cherrystone, kelp broth and a bit salt.
Shirozake is made by blending a mirin (sweet sake) and distilled spirits with steamed glutinous rice and malted rice.