On March 3rd in Japan, people celebrate the Girls’ Festival, called “HINAMATSURI”(雛祭り).
On the day, people traditionally celebrate girls’ growth mainly by displaying beautiful dolls in ancient costumes of the Heian era with peach flowers in each house, and eating cubic rice crackers (Hina-arare). However, there are some popular sweets for this festival which are a must-try.
The customs of the doll’s festival primarily come from ancient China, such as eating a rice-flour cakes flavored with mugwort and drinking alcohol to protect yourself from harm and malicious spirits.
Here are some of the most popular hinamatsuri sweets.
HINA-ARARE 雛あられ are small rice crackers or rice puffs that have crunchy texture and are really tasty! They come in three different lucky colors – white, pink and green.
HISHI-MOCHI is sticky rice dessert in a diamond shape in three layers and also in three different auspicious colors (pink, white and green). Usually, you can buy Hishimochi only in this season.
SAKURA-MOCHI 桜餅 is made of sticky rice that is covered by salt preserved leaf of cherry blossom. The chewy texture in sweet and subtle salty is very delicious! The smells of cherry blossom is also elegant.
In Japan, the Hinamatsuri doll’s festival is a rare event when you can have a party at home with your friends. If you live in Japan, this is a good chance to invite Japanese friends to your house, or visit a friend’s house.
Japanese have a custom to celebrate children’s growth, and March 3rd is reserved for girls, and May 5th for boys. Single adults do not celebrate the event so much, but if you have children, you would decorate your house with the traditional dolls or peach flowers. Of course, to each their own, and not everyone decorates, but it is a common custom.
However you can always celebrate with eating these sweets!
: AC photo/