Getting Ready for Girls’ Day 2013

Girls’ Day in Japan or hinamatsuri (ひな祭り) is coming up on March 3rd as it does every year. Girls’ Day is famous for the doll sets that parents setup for their kids. I didn’t realize this until recently, but traditionally you’re supposed to setup the doll set on the first taian day1 after Setsubun which is always on February 3rd. I missed this by almost 2 weeks, so I setup the doll set a little late this year. This old post shows some photos of doll sets for Hinamatsuri.

My daughter loves to make things with paper. I’ve talked about some of her creations before, but lately she’s interested in the “princess” doll. Here’s a photo of the doll in our set:

Bride Doll

My daughter is fascinated with the many layers of robes that women wore in those days. Here’s a photo from Wikipedia showing the style more clearly:

Tale of Genji Museum3

So, my daughter wanted to make similar robes for herself. She took many sheets of construction-paper, taped them together and made these “robes” for herself.

Daughter as Princess

Also, recently the Japan Times had an amusing article about Hina dolls when they they’re not on display. The photos were hilarious.

Anyhow, Girls’ Day is always one of my favorite times of year because it reminds me the old Heian Period culture (which is the theme of my other blog), and there’s lots of good food on Girls’ Day. My favorite is sakuramochi (桜餅):

Girls' Day Sakuramochi

These are sweetly flavored “mochi” (glutinous rice) wrapped in a leaf from the sakura (cherry) tree. Usually mochi is kind of bland but goes well in stews or soups, but sakuramochi is sweet and has a nice filling in the middle. I could probably eat 20 of those. ;P

My wife and her Japanese friends also like to make chirashi on Girls’ Day, which is kind of similar to sushi, but without the seaweed and served in a large platter. My daughter is the only girl among her Japanese-American friends (the rest are boys), so she gets extra-special treatment on Girls’ Day.

But of course, Girls’ Day in Japan isn’t about nerdy white guys stuffing their face. It’s about celebrating young ladies, and wishing them a happy marriage in the future. There’s a famous song in Japan often sung around this time:

My daughter sings it to herself sometimes.

Girls’ Day is a fun time for our whole family, and I hope you get to celebrate it too. 🙂

1 Taian (大安), one of the 6 days of the Japanese calendar, read here for details.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

7 thoughts on “Getting Ready for Girls’ Day 2013”

  1. I think the sakura mochi in Japan are wrapped in a slated cherry tree leaf. I suppose a shiso leaf would be a reasonable alternative if cherry leaves were not available.


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