What is the Hina matsuri (ひなまつり)?
Hinamatsuri (an another name is momo no zekku) ひなまつり・もものぜっく
3rd of March is hinamatsuri (ひなまつり). Hinamatsuri、also called Doll’s Day or Girl’s day, is the festival for girls in Japan. On this day, hina ningyo (ひなにんぎょう/hina dolls）, which represent as the Emperor, the Empress , attendants, musicians wearing traditional court dresses of Heian priod, and peach blossoms are displayed in the houses of female children. Some children have parties with special food such as hishimochi (ひしもち/diamond-shaped rice cakes), shirozake (白酒/sweet rice wine) and arare (あられ/rice crackers). The parents of female children wish their girls to grown happily and in good health.
I remember my mum used to tell me that it is better to display early and take them away on time otherwise the girls at the household (in this case, me) won’t be able to get marry on time. I do not know even now if my mum was telling the truth or not. I guess it was just a superstition.
What is the Hishi Mochi?
Hishi mochi is an essential item and the traditional food for hinamatsuri. The reason why Japanese display hishi mochi is that to show respect and appreciation to those hina dolls. Why do we show our respect and appreciation? It has been said that originally the hina dolls were displayed in order to receive female children’s misfortune on behalf , in other words, to protect female children from misfortune so that they would grow in good health and happiness.
So why do Japanese people eat hishi mochi? In mordern days, hishi mochi is thought to be a good luck because of the shape of it, which came from Trapa japonica. it is a diamond-shaped .
So why is the trapa japonica thought to be a good luck? The hishi mochi is a prototype of trapa japonica. The fruits of Trapa japonica with sharp and hard thorns have been thought to protect from evils、having a power of amulet. And the flowers of Trapa japonica have strong fecundity, they put people in ancient time in mind of prosperity of descendant. Therefore, Japanese people make them and eat with deep wishes for protections and prosperity of descendant of girls.
The colors of Hishi mochi and the meaning of each color
Hishi mochi consists of three colors , formed from three layers of green, white and red (pink). Each color has its meaning.
The origin of hishi mochi
Until the Edo period, hishi mochi had only two colors of green yomogi mochi and white mochi, which had the fruits of Trapa japonica. And these two colors were layered each other in either three layers or five layers. And an addition to these two colors was pink (red). Red is said to be a color of “congratulations”and pink which is the colors of peach blossom is deeply associated with Hinamatsuri. The pink/red mochi colored with the fruits of kuchinashi (クチナシ・Gardenia jasminoides) became an additional mochi after the new era of Miji. Having added the pink/red mochi, hishi mochi became such a bright colorful structure.
The meaning of each color
Each of three colorful color has an characteristic meaning. The pick colored with gardenia jasminoides which is expected of detoxification, is believed to have the meaning of “tailsman”, “joy for ancestors”. The white is made from trapa japonica represents the snow and is expected of “cleansing effect”, “property of descendant” and “longevity”. The green which has the meaning of “tailsman” and “health” is believed to be a restorative that improves the blood because it is made from “yomogi”.
The meaning of its layer in order
From top, layered red(pink), white and green. The pink represents “peach blossom”, and the white represents “snow/remaining snow”, the green represents “sprout/fresh green” . Layering in this order means that new fresh green and sprout are to be grown through the snow and peach blossom opens. It has been said that this images the sign of the spring,
Why do we display Arare（あられ）together with Hina mochi?
Another regular face for hinamaturi is arare (あられ). Let’s find out about it.
The origin of Arare
Arare is broken pieces of hishi mochi. The idea of making handful portable sizes of arare was that it was easy to take them outside and eat them as snacks.
There was an old custom called “hina kuni mise” at Edo period in Japan. This means that female children used to go out with hina dolls on a fine day so that they could show outside scenery to the hina dolls as well and took arare with them as a snack. It was very thoughtful of them.
The meaning of each color
The red(pink) is regarded as the energy of lives like blood and soul, the green is the energy of nature, and white is regarded as the energy of ground. Sometimes we add 4th color which is yellow and the four colors are thought to be the four seasons. The res(pink) represents ” Spring”, the green represents “summer”, the yellow represents “autumn” and the white represents “winter”.
Why do Japanese eat them?
As you can imagine by now the reason why Japanese eat them… As each color has such a wonderful meaning , eating arare means taking natural energy that each season produces into our bodies. They eat them with the hope of good health and happiness of their girls.
The different flour of each hishi mochi
The red (pink) mochi – prawns, the white mochi – sticky rice, the green – yomogi (Japanese mugwort).
What is a Shiro zake ? Why is a reason for drinking it?
Shiro zake or Ama zake?
Amazake may sound familier to you. Yes amazake is to be drunk at the new year’s days! So what is Shirozake? Shirozake looks exactly like amazake but in face they are totally different sake. Don’t you know that?
What is “amazake”?
Unlike amzake, shirozake is actual alcohols. It is usually made by adding quantity of sweet cooking sake (mirin・みりん）or shochu (distilled spirit) to steamed mochi gome (glutinous rice) and mixing them and leaving it to foment for a month. it is , therefore, not advisable for children to drink them.
Why do Japanese drink for hinamatsuri?
What is the reason for drinking it? The custom of displaying hina dolls and hishi mochi and shirozake is said to be started from Edo period.
I do not know exactly why but according to the different sources , it has been said that drinking shirozake is to get rid of evils and protect girls from any illness and get a long life.
A Japanese Children’s song – Hinamatsuri
Lst think I would like to tell you about is that the song to celebrate on the Girls’s Day. It is called “hinamaturi” I usually introduce the Japanese children’s songs on separate blogs but today is a special day. So let’s sing a song together!!
But before doing that , as usual I explain some words for you.
BONBORI – a paper lantern
MOMO NO HANA – peach blossom
GONI BAYASH – five musicians
FUE. TAIKO – a flute and a drum
TANOSHI – fun, enjoyable
ODAIRI SAMA – the Emperor
OHINA SAMA – the Empress
KANNYO – the court ladies
KIN NO BYOUBU – a gold folding screen
HARUNO KAZE – spring wind
AKAI OKAO – red face
UDAI JIN – a minister of the right
Let’s listen the song!
|1. Akari o tsuke masho bonbori ni|
ohana o age masho momo no hana
gonin bayashi no fue daiko
kyo wa tanoshi hinamatsuri
|let’s light the paper lanterns? |
Let’s display the peach blossom!
Enjoy five musicians of flutists and drummers
Today is an enjoyable day , dall’s Day!
|2. Odairi sama to ohina sama |
futari narande sumashi gao
oyome ni irashita mesama ni
yokunita kanjyo no shiroi kao
|The Emperor and the empress |
are sitting together seriously
One of the three court ladies looks like my sister-in-law
She looks fair-skinned and beautiful
|3. Kin no byoubu ni utsuru hi wo |
kasuka ni yusuru haru no kaza
sukoshi shirozake mesaretaka
akai okao no udai jin
|The light reflects on the gold folding screen |
Spring wind is flickering
the face of minister of the right is red!
Have you taken a lots of shirozake?
|4. Kimono o kikaete obi shimete|
kyo wa watashi mo haresugata
haru no yayoi no kono yoki hi
naniyori ureshi hinamatsuri
|Changing into kimono and tie a obi|
Today. I also shall dress up
Spring has come on this wonderful day!
more than happy to celebrate doll’s Day!
Now let’s sing together and celebrate the belated Doll’s Day!!