Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hinamatsuri ひな祭り

ひな祭り is held on March 3rd. This is a day to pray for young girl’s growth and happiness. It is also called もものせっく (Peach Festival) because of the peach blossom season on the old lunar calendar.

Most families with girls display ひな人形 10-20 days before ひな祭り. They are special dolls for Hinamatsuri. They are usually arranged on a five or seven-tiered stand covered with a red carpet. At the top are おだりさまthe Emperor and おひなさま Empress. The next step contains three court ladies 三人官女, followed by five musicians 五人ばやし, two ministers 随身 and three servants ending the bottom row in a five-tiered display.

Placed infront of the ひな人形 are offerings of peach blossoms (Peach blossoms, symbolizing a happy marriage, are indispensable decorations of this festival day. The blossoms signify the feminine traits - of gentility, composure and tranquility), grilled pieces of rice cake called hina arare ひなあられ, special colored and diamond shaped rice cakes called hishimochi 菱餅 and soft a rice wine called shirozake 白酒.

This ceremony is similar to a Chinese ceremony in which the sins of the body are transferred to a doll that is then set adrift on a river. The celebration of this festival in Japan is traceable to the Edo Period (1603-1867).

As the festival has grown over the years the dolls have become more elaborate and more expensive. One can guess that people no longer want to set these little treasures to drift on a river. The trend now is to display the dolls on the house and save them for the following years’ festivals.

The dolls wear beautiful ancient court costumes of the Heian period (794-1185). The costume of the Empress is called the “juuni-hitoe (twelve-layered ceremonial robe).” When wearing the juuni-hitoe, the hairstyle is gathered at the neck to hang down the back (suberakashi) and a fan made of Japanese cypress is held in the hands.

A traditional set of dolls can be very expensive. There are various grades for the sets, and some full sets cost more than a million yen. Unless there is a set handed down from generation to generation, grandparents or parents buy them for a girl by her first Hinamatsuri (初節句 hatsu-zekku). However, since many Japanese live in small houses, royal couple version (with only the Emperor and the Empress dolls) is popular nowadays. There is a superstition that if you don’t put away the ひな人形 soon after March 3rd, the daughter will get married late.

On Hinamatsuri these delicacies are prepared :

* Chirashi-zushi ちらし寿司
* Hina-arare ひなあられ
* Hishi-mochi 菱餅
* Shiro-zake 白酒
* Sakuramochi 桜餅
* konpeitou コンペイトウ
Hamaguri Ushio-jiru Clam soup

Pics :
* Hina-chirashi ひなちらし- Chirashi-zushi ちらし寿司

* Hina-arare ひなあられ

Each color of puffs represents special meaning–white is earth, red is life, and green is trees–and is believed to provide energy to those who eat them so that they can drive out their misfortune and disease.

* Hishi-mochi 菱餅
The pink represents peach flowers, the white means snow, and the green means Yomogi, a Japanese green of early spring. [Yomogi is Japanese Mugwort.]
So it means: Under the snow, the green comes into bud, and over the snow, the peach flowers are in bloom. It shows an image of early spring in Japan. Also the pink means charm, the white means purification, and the green means to drive away bad spirits.

* Shiro-zake 白酒

Shirozake is believed to purify the body of those who drink it as pure as its color.

* Sakuramochi 桜餅

* konpeitou コンペイトウ

Means order, harmony, beauty and adornment. A true heart of a young girl, purity of a young girl, harmony or attractiveness.

* Hamaguri Ushio-jiru

Clams are associated with chastity. A traditional way to serve the clams is a clam soup with spring herbs, which also recognizes the arrival of spring

Here is a Hinamatsuri song called うれしいひなまつり(Happy Hinamatsuri)

I can't seem to remember which disc has this song in it. Too lazy to go through all my discs. Thanks to Youtube. I've managed to find this.


あかりをつけましょ ぼんぼりに
  お花をあげましょ 桃の花
  五人ばやしの 笛太鼓
  今日はたのしい ひな祭り

お内裏様(ダイリサマ)と おひな様
  二人ならんで すまし顔
  お嫁にいらした ねえさまに
  よく似た官女(カンジョ)の 白い顔

金のびょうぶに うつる灯(ヒ)を
  かすかにゆする 春の風
  すこし白酒(シロザケ) めされたか
  赤いお顔の 右大臣(ウダイジン)

着物をきかえて 帯しめて
  今日はわたしも はれ姿
  春のやよいの このよき日
  なによりうれしい ひな祭り

The meaning of Hinamatsuri is to celebrate girls' happiness, and the long history of Hinamatsuri makes us realize how much parents valued the daughters happiness. Grandmother to mother, mother to daughter, the wish for children’s happiness is forever. Families observe it to encourage filial piety, ancestor worship, loyalty, but above all is the love of children by Japanese parents, their joy and pride in them, and their desire to please them, and this love often impels poor parents to sell some of their belongings to buy dolls and decorations for the festival.

Interesting link,
click here

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe of Hinamatsuri. Will try it coming weekend and hope it tastes well.