Hina Matsuri: Girl’s Day in Japan

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Every year on 3rd March in Japan they celebrate a festival called Hina Matsuri. Have you ever heard about it? Hina Matsuri is also known as girl’s festival or doll festival. This festival is dedicated to the well-being and happiness of girls in Japan, and it has been celebrated for over hundreds of years since the Edo period.

The main feature of Hina Matsuri is the display of dolls, which represent the Emperor, Empress, and their courtiers in traditional Heian-period dress. These dolls are usually displayed on a multi-tiered platform covered with red carpet, which is called a hinadan. The hinadan is decorated with peach blossoms and other seasonal flowers, and it is believed that the dolls bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. There are some other customs called nagashi-bina, which involves floating paper dolls down a river or stream. This is done to symbolize the casting away of bad luck and misfortune.

There are a few theories about the origin of hina matsuri, but it most likely started in ancient China around the 3rd century. It was later introduced to Japan and eventually became a Japanese tradition. During that time, the mortality rate of little children was significantly higher than that of today due to infectious diseases and the lack of an adequate medical system. People started to create small paper dolls and flow them down the river, hoping that they would get rid of bad luck from their children.

To celebrate Hina Matsuri on 3rd of March, Siki Bali, a Japanese language school in Bali, is even for the public to learn how to make origami dolls for Hina Matsuri celebration. Every month in Siki Bali, they hold a Japanese culture event open to the public so they can learn Japanese culture. Before we started making the origami doll, there was a brief explanation about the Hina Matsuri festival. 

Each person made 2 dolls representing the Emperor and the Empress. The dolls were made of beautiful paper with some motives, mostly flowery motives. Most of the participants in this event were young girls and some ladies. The instructure taught us slowly and made sure none of us was left behind. After we finished making the dolls, we were served hina arare and sakura soda. Some of us also tried shirozake (rice sake). In Japan, one of the main customs of Hina Matsuri is the preparation of special foods, such as chirashizushi (a type of sushi with scattered toppings), and hishi mochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes). 

Hina Matsuri is a cherished tradition in Japan, and even though it’s called a festival, in reality it is celebrated only by families all over the country. It is a time for parents to show their love for their daughters and to wish them happiness and good fortune in the future. Families who don’t have young daughters might not do anything special for the holiday.

Overall, Hina Matsuri is a beautiful and meaningful festival that celebrates the important role of girls in Japanese society. It is a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and look forward to the future with hope and optimism.


Written by: Nevy Pangestika

Pictures: China Daily, WeXpats

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