Hinamatsuri - for the old and the new-

“Hina-matsuri” (Doll Festival or Girl’s Day) is held on March 3 when families wish their daughters’ healthy growth and happiness. For this day, a set of dolls representing the Emperor and Empress in traditional court dress is are displayed. (*hina =little dolls/ matsuri=festival)

Of course, there are several special sweets to celebrate the day.

One of them is Hina-Arare. Hina is named after the festival and Arare is a bite-sized cracker made from glutinous rice. To make the snack special for this day, they are often colored white (representing snow), green (new buds) and pink (one’s life). Hishimochi, a diamond-shaped colored rice cake, is also well-known as a customary sweets for the day.

You may be surprised, but as a customary drink, Shirozake, a sake made from fermented rice considered to be a must to celebrate this day. Are girls allowed to drink alcohol in Japan? No!! So in fact, Amazake, a traditional sweet, low- or non-alcohol drink made from fermented rice, is served instead. Still, only Amazake is not enough to have the festive sweets. Maybe Hojicha (roasted tea with less caffeine) might go along with and good for little girls.

If I may add a few words……although this is the day for girls, “former-girls” including me still like this day even after we are grown up. We feel warm and happily excited.

Happy Hinamatsuri to the old and the new girls!

Hina-arare (left)/ Hishimochi(right)