Celebrate Girl’s Day paniolo style!

MHM Girls Day 2.8.17

Take a picture of your girls wearing a traditional kimono next to horses in our museum for a lovely photo keepsake. The Girl’s Day tradition blesses girls, a tradition brought to Hawai’i by early immigrants who worked in the sugarcane and pineapple fields. It is customary to display a special doll on a table or altar to bless girls with a healthy and happy life. In the old days moms and tutus would make special pink-colored mochi (rice cakes) or maybe buy a cake from Komoda Bakery. Girl’s Day (or Hinamatsuri) origins can be traced to the 8th century Heian period when people made small straw dolls to float down rivers. The dolls carried away bad experiences and negative forces in order to protect children. Current traditions have evolved and can vary slightly in different regions. The holiday started out to bless all children, and over the centuries became a festival of dolls where girls are given a doll to display for the yearly holiday.

Example of a Hinamatsuri doll

Grandparents often gift granddaughters a doll and kimono when she is born, and a picture is taken. The table or altar may also include items like a fan and flowers. Elaborate altars can have up to seven or more tiers with dolls that signify the Emperor and Empress on the top. Descending tiers hold dolls representing court ladies, politicians, musicians, and helpers or samurai. Bottom tiers can hold intricate tiny items such as ox-pulled carriages, tools, tea ceremony items, and much more! The displays can be seen at businesses and public places like train stations, all over Japan.

Example of a 7 tier altar

What would a holiday be without food? Traditional foods are eaten on March 3rd, the last day of the celebration, and may include tasty dishes such as a raw fish and vegetable mixture over rice, sweet and salty crackers, a drink called shirozake, and mochi. It’s not unusual to see platters of mochi at one’s workplace during this time. Stop by Friday for a fun photo shoot and learn more about Girl’s Day.

Photos used by permission from the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Toronto, ON