Hinamatsuri – Momo no Sekku

Japanese Culture

It is almost a year passed since my little daughter entered the kindergarten from last April. I visited her music class yesterday. Swayed to the music, her expressions were very lively and full of life. Looking back the first day of her entrance ceremony, she insisted to stay with me, and did not let me go to the parents’ seats.  After a year passed, she enjoyed her class with her friends  and teachers, and it makes me feel better. The second spring in her kindergarten is coming around the corner, I wish her continued healthy growth.

Hinamatsuri – Momo no Sekku

Every March 3rd, we have Hinamatsuri, one of the Japanese traditional festival. It prays for health and safety for young girls by displaying a set of hina-ningyo/dolls at home.

In ancient Japan, there are five seasonal festivals of a year, and those are related to the seasonal changes, called “Sekku”.  Every March 3rd is one of those “Sekku”, known as “Momo no Sekku” means “Peach Festival”.

In old time, it is believed that the troubles and bad lucks were more likely to be brought in each seasonal changes. Thus, to take those troubles away, people looked for their scapegoats.

As time goes by, changing the shapes and customs, on March 3rd, “Momo no Sekku”, many families with girls display special dolls called “Hina Ningyo” which are believed to drive away bad sprits and bad lucks from young girls.

Following such customs, since there are two daughters in my family, I decorated two sets of Hina dolls for each of them. Hina Ningyo represents the Emperor and the Empress.

I like the sophisticated faces and beautiful Kimono costume, however, my little daughter chose her Hina dolls because Hishimochi, a diamond shaped rice cake, decorated in front of her Hina dolls, is so attractive to her…

Hishimochi is colored pink, white and green, and each colors symbolize wishes for health and safety. Like;

the pink is for against evil sprits
 the white represents a long life and purity
the green symbolizes for health and preventing sickness

It is said that the color pink means peach flowers, white is for snow, and green represents the leaves or the land.  You may imagine the scenery that the seasons is moving from winter to spring, like there are sprouts are growing while snow still remains, and looking up, the peach flowers are blooming.

It is only about 10 days left to see those Hina dolls in the corner of my living room.  As I mentioned, a set of Hina dolls represents the Emperor and the Empress, and this is to wish for a happy marriage for daughters. People put away Hina Ningyo as soon as Hinamatsuri is over.
It is believed that if people put away Hina Ningyo too late, the girl will get married late in the future.

I don’t know any right answers to my daughters’ future, even mine, but I think I will follow such belief/superstition, because there is nothing but only wishing for a healthy growth and happiness for my daughters.