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:
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:
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.
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!