Hina Matsuri-A Day For Girls

Since I saw the Hina Matsuri dolls my first year in Japan, I have wanted a set. If you know anything about me you will know that I would not want the huge seven tired set that can be seen this time of year in Japan.  Hina Matsuri takes place on March 3 and celebrates Girl’s Day. This is the day that families pray for the health and prosperity of their girls. It helps to ensure that they grow up healthy and beautiful.  A girl’s first Hina Matsuri is called her hatsu-zekku. On her first Girl’s Day it is very popular for her grandparents to buy her a set of dolls to display:

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The display can have up to seven tiers arranged with dolls and furniture. The top tier always has the emperor and empress displayed with a gilded screen behind them. Most families display their dolls beginning in mid-February and put them away immediately after Hina Matsuri is over. They believe that families who are slow to put away their dolls will have a hard time marrying off their daughters.

There is a new little shop near my house that sells traditional Japanese gifts and crafts from all over Japan. This is what I found:

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It’s the small set I have been looking for.  They are made of wood and I love the hand painted detail.  The tiny emperor is just 4 inches tall and the empress is just 3 inches.  I also felt good helping this new little shop.

Last Monday, when I returned from the US I had a beautiful gift waiting for me.  My French friends Frederic, Karine, Zoe and Aimie gave me this set as a thank you gift for keeping Zoe while Karine was in the hospital giving birth to Aimie.

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It was totally unexpected, but very much appreciated.  It is so beautiful and unique.  I have never seen a set like this.  It’s such a wonderful gift and it will always remind me of wonderful friends and the fun that I had with my little friend Zoe.

There are special treats on Girl’s Day.  Shops stock feminine looking sweets in pastel colors.  Yesterday, I decided to try some traditional Japanese sweets.  They are delicate pink pancakes filled with red bean paste, rolled and wrapped in a leaf that has bean soaked in something slightly salty.  The salty taste was a nice contrast to the sweet red bean paste.

Happy Hina Matsuri!

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4 Comments

  1. Apparently, Mom got her Hani Matsura dolls put away on time, so I can’t blame her for why I am not yet married off?! Oh well. I was hoping to find a somewhat valid excuse 😉

  2. Hina Matsuri is the correct spelling…I knew I would get it wrong…what did I say…Hani Matsura…yeah, I don’t speak Japanese…

  3. Very beautiful dolls – all of them! Thanks for sharing the story.

    p/s just read your cupcakes thread too – the photos sure made me hungry!

  4. I love the dolls, (lucky me, we were with you for your purchase, CUTE STORE!!
    What a fun gift to receive! You babushka you!
    I am glad you had a nice time in Utah/the states. I could almost smell the cupcakes! I know how you feel about deteriorating health and watching loved ones age. (Our kids are going to be saying that soon enough, if they haven’t already started…)
    See you soon…
    Dee

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