HINA MATSURI Doll’s festival 桃の節句(ひな祭り)

Hina Matsuri

3月3日 March 3rd

桃の節句(ひな祭り)Peach festival

In Japan, we celebrate Hinamatsuri on March 3. Hina means small and adorable. It’s also called Momo-no-Sekku or Peach festival. Hinamatsuri is an occasion to pray for young girls’ growth and happiness. During Hinamatsuri, most families with girls display dolls called “Hina-ningyo (Hina=tiny & adorable, ningyo=doll)”. Hishimochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes)and peach flowers are displayed together. We eat traditional dishes like Chirashi-sushi, clam soup, Hishimochi and Hina Arare (sweet rice crackers) on Hinamatsuri.

Chirashi-sushi is a kind of sushi with many scattered toppings such as salmon roe and sashimi on vinegar rice.




The origin of the Doll’s festival begins in China. There are five times a year when the word “Sekku”, which means the turning point of the season, and it has long been said that evil spirits are likely to enter. One of the festivals, March 3 (Joshi’s festival), is also called “Peach festival” because peach blossoms were popular, which are said to have longevity and warding off evil.

In China, it is customary to cleanse yourself in the river, and in Japan, it was called “Nagashi Hina” that transfers one’s evil spirits to a doll made of paper or straw and drains it into the river to exterminate the evil spirits.

In addition, a doll play called “Hihina play” was popular among aristocratic children in the Heian period (794-1185). It is believed that this doll play and “Sekku” were combined and became the prototype of the current “Hinamatsuri”.

With the times, the technique of making dolls has developed and fine dolls have been made, and eventually the dolls have changed from being washed away by the river to being decorated. Then, in the Edo period, it became established as an event for girls.








Hina-ningyo dolls

The Hina-ningyo dolls are wearing very luxurious kimonos and show the state of the palace.

Basically, we start decorating from the beginning of February (the day after Setsubun, around February 4th) to around mid-February, and decorate until March 3rd. There is a legend that decorating the Hina dolls in period of “USUI” (from February 18th to March 4th in 2021) will lead to good luck. There is also a funny superstition that when tidying up late, the marriage period will be late, too. Therefore it will be better to clean up early on a sunny day.

In old days, the Hina-ningyo dolls used to be placed on a magnificent 15-persons decoration with 5-7 tiers. However, since Japanese houses are not large these days, 3 tiers of 10-persons decoration or 1-tier type of Emperor & Empress decorations are popular in Japan.