3rd March is the day of Japanese Doll’s Festival! ~For praying girls’ growing and wedding~

伝統行事(でんとうぎょうじ): Traditional events

Japanese article is here; https://japaneselanguagesalonbymikapanda.com/hinamatsuri-557

3rd March is “Hina-matsuri”

Hello, this is MIKA!

March has been started, and spring is comming soon 🙂

By the way, have you ever heard “Hina-matsuri”? Today, 3rd March is the day of “Hina-matsuri”, it’s one of Japanese traditional events to pray girls’ healthy growing and happy wedding by decorating “Hina-ninngyou”, the special dolls for “Hina-matsuri”.

Anyway, why do we celebrate “Hina-matsuri” on 3rd March? Why is it the day for girls? And what do we do on “Hina-matsuri”?

This time, I’ll write the article with these themes!

It’s one of “Go-sseku”, the five days of exorcism

At first, I’ll tell you why “Hina-matsuri” is on 3rd March.

“Hina-matsuri” is one of “Go-sekku”, the five days of exocism.

In the Chinese principle of yin and yang, odd numbers are “Yang”, the lucky numbers.

That’s why Japanese has been held the traditional events to drive out evil spirits on the days with odd numbers as “Go-sekku” since Heian era, about 1000 years ago.

7th January is “Sekku of Nanakusa”

The first day of “Go-sekku” is on 7th January, not 1st because it’s New year’s day.

On that day, we take “Nanakusa-gayu”, a special rice gruel with seven leaf vegetables in spring to care for tired stomach and intestines in New year’s holidays.

3rd March is “Sekku of peach”

Second is “Sekku of peach” as “Hina-matsuri” on 3rd March.

In this season, flowers of peach are full blooming.

In addition, ancient Chinese believed they had the power to drive out evil spirits.

With these reasons, 3rd March has been called “Sekku of peach”.

5th May is “Sekku of iris”

Third is “Sekku of iris” as “The national holiday for children” on 5th May, because it’s the season iris are blooming.

“Iris” is called “菖蒲(しょうぶ)” in Japanese, and  “尚武(しょうぶ)”, “Militarism” in Japanese has the same reading way. That’s why it has become “The national holiday for children” to pray especially for boys’ healthy growing.

Against that, “Hina-matsuri” is the day to pray especially for girls’ healthy growing and happy wedding.

7th Jury is “Tanabata”, the Star Festival

Fourth is “Tanabata”, the Star Festival. It’s the only day of the year that “Orihime” and “Hikoboshi” achieve a reunion, because they are married couple who have been separated by “Amanogawa”, the Milky Way. It’s the story come from ancient China.

“Orihime”, the daughter of “Tentei”, God of Hosts is Vega; the first‐magnitude star of Lyra.

“Hikoboshi”, the cowboy on heavenly city, is Altair; the first‐magnitude star of Aquila.

Because we think “Orihime” and “Hikoboshi” grant our wishes in the night of “Tanabata”, there is the custom to write our wishes on “Tanzaku”, colored papers to decorate bamboo tree.

9th September is “Sekku of chrysanthemum”

Last is “Sekku of chrysanthemum”. There is the legend it has the power of exocism and effect of longevity, that’s why we take “Kiku-zake”, sake which has the fragrance of chrysanthemum to pray for our health and longevity.

However, this custom hasn’t been permeating than other “Go-sekku”, it’s going out of use.

“Hina-ninngyou”, the special dolls for “Hina-matsuri”

Anyway, let’s return to the main theme “Hina-matsuri” in detail.

At home which has girl, they decorate “Hina-ninngyou” for “Hina-matsuri”.

The origin is doll-playing of Japanese noble girls in Heian era(794~1185), but it has been popular into townspeople in Edo era(1603~1868).

“Hina-ninngyou” is made by imagining the wedding of Japanese Court in Heian era to pray girls’ happy wedding.

“Odairi-sama” and “Ohina-sama”

The man at the left side is “Tennou”, Japanese emperor and the woman at the right side is “Kougou”, Japanese empress in Heian era.

In the Kanto, the area around Tokyo, this position is general style. But “Kyou-bina”, the style of Kyoto is opposite.

The man is called “Odairi-sama”, and the woman is “Ohina-sama”. However, it’s wrong calling; originally “Odairi-sama” means “The emperor and empress”!

But it has already become familiar because of the song of “Hina-matsuri”, it’s too difficult to correct.


The objects in front of “Odairi-sama” and “Ohina-sama” are called “Hishi-mochi”.

Pink, the color of exocism is a flower of peach. White, the color of cleanness is a snow. Green, the color of health is a ground with fresh verdure. In other words, it express the moving of the seasons; winter to spring.

“Hishi”, a water caltrop grows thickly on water surface, that’s why it’s the symbol of growing and prosperity. Because of that, there are some “Hishi-mochi” with “Hina-ninngyou”.


The three wowen under “Odairi-sama” and “Ohina-sama” are called “Sannin-kanjo”.

They are the persons in charge to take care the couple, the leading part of the wedding.


The five men under “Sannin-kanjo” are called “Gonin-bayashi”.

They are playing music with Japanese traditional drums and flute to liven it up.

“Zui-shin”, “Udai-zin” and “Sa-daizin”

The two persons under “Gonin-bayashi” are “Zui-shin”, they are called “Udai-zin” and “Sa-daizin” for each.

They have bows and arrow, and brave expression because they are the bodyguards of emperor and empress.


The tree persons under “Zuishin” are called “Shichou”; the angry young man, the crying middle-aged man, and the smiling old man.

They describe a process of life by getting over many hardness and finally smiling.

“Tachibana-orange” and “Sakura”

There is the object of “Tachibana-orange” at the right side, and “Sakura” at left side in the picture.

The reason why is they have also the power to drive out evil spirits like a peach.

Then, why is there the object of “Sakura”, not a peach? Because they had been planted in the garden of “Shishin-den”, the building to hold the important ceremonies of Japanese Court like a enthronement.

The special foods for “Hina-matsuri”

Finally I introduce you the special foods for “Hina-matsuri”.

“Hina-arare”, colorful rice snacks

“Hina-arare” is made from baked and smashed “Hishi-mochi” to take it outside easier, it’s the beginning.

In Kanto area, we take “Pon-gashi”, the colorful rice snack by popping and coating with sugar as “Hina-arare”.

In Kansai, the area around Osaka, salty Okaki is a standard style of “Hina-arare”.


There is the custom to take “Chirasi-zushi”, the sushi with many food stuffs like a shrimp, lotus root, thin omelette cut into strips and snap peas on “Hina-matsuri”.

However, the origin is not cleary and there are some theories.

First is the ancient custom to take the foods from the sea and mountains outside to receive their power by appreciating the nature.

Second is “Nare-zushi”, the special food to celebrate in Heian era had become “Bara-zushi” in Edo era which had various food stuffs, and finally it has become “Chirasi-zushi” in the present age.

“Nare-zushi”, the ancestor of Sushi, is made by fermented rice with fish.

There are the wishes for each typical stuffs;

We put shrimps to live long until our weist bend down like them, lotus roots to see into the future because they have some holes, and snap peas to work faithfully because “Beans” is “Mame” in Japanese, “Mame” means also “Faithfully”.

“Osui-mono”, dashi-soup of clams

“Osui-mono” is a dashi-soup which is cooked with salt, soy souce or Miso and putting some kinds of seafoods and vegetables.

There are mainly two reasons why we take it;

First, it’s the best season of clam around “Hina-matsuri”.

Second, the shells of clam exactly close. That’s why we pin the hopes for girls to be a couple who remain married for life like the shells of clam.

Final comment

How was it?

This time, I’ve told you “Hina-matsuri”, one of “Go-sekku”.

It’s the general custom to decorate traditional “Hina-ninngyou” at home which has girl. However, there are many people who make lovely hand-made “Hina-ninngyou” like the picture.

It brings you a happy time to make original “Hina-ninngyou”!