Life Here

August 7, 2018 By Susan Hashimoto

Japanese Girls’ Festival

In early March, we, the Japanese girls at Paradise Valley Estates, celebrated Hina Matsuri, the Doll Festival (or Girls’ Festival) that is traditionally celebrated on March 3. This festival celebrates and wishes for a healthy long life for the daughters of the household.

The primary aspect of Hina Matsuri is the display (usually on a red cloth) of seated obina and mebina dolls (literally “male doll” and “female doll”), which represent a Heian period wedding, but are usually described as the Emperor and Empress of Japan. The dolls may be as simple as pictures or folded paper (origami), or even intricately carved three-dimensional dolls. More elaborate displays will include a multi-tiered stand of dolls that represent ladies of the court, musicians and other attendants, with all sorts of accouterments.

During Hina Matsuri and the preceding days, girls hold parties with their friends. Typical foods include hina-arare (rice crackers), chirashizushi (raw fish and vegetables on rice in a bowl or bento box), hishimocha (multicolored rice cakes), ichigo daifuku (strawberries wrapped in a red bean paste), and ushiojiru (clam soup, as clam shells represent a joined pair). The customary drink is shirozake (“white sake”), also called amazake (“sweet sake”), which is nonalcoholic sake.

At PVE a lot was improvised. The raw fish and vegetables on rice in chirashizushi were changed to marinated shrimp and vegetables in rice. Sakes were served last year but not this year. Different varieties of rice cakes were served.

We wanted to share a little bit of our culture and a taste of our food, which was done and all in fun!


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