Hina Matsuri is tomorrow! 明日はひなまつりですよ！Hina Matsuri is also known as Girl’s Day or the Doll’s Festival, and is particularly celebrated by families with little girls. The primary activity, as far as I know, is decorating one’s home with a tiered stand, on which beautiful dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, and their attendants are placed. These dolls are often passed down as family heirlooms, and are believed to protect girls and ensure their well-being.
There are also lots of traditional foods associated with this festival day, such as chirashi sushi, or rice scattered with fish and other tasty treats; hishimochi, a diamond shaped colorful rice cake; and hina arare. Hina arare are bits of puffed rice coated with sugar, and have a mild sweet taste.
Today a good friend asked if I had tried them, so when I stopped in the combini on the way home, I picked up a bag. Hello Kitty is getting in on the act, and you can see the traditional doll display on the bag as performed by Kitty-chan and friends! Super kawaii!
On the top level is the Emperor, played by Dear Daniel, and the Empress, played by Kitty-chan herself. After that are the various musicians and sake-bearers, all looking ridiculously adorable in their courtly finery. For 100 yen, I decided that the cuteness alone justified the purchase! But how do they taste?
Super sweet and mild, they remind me of sugary breakfast cereal. They’re a bit like fruit-loops without the fruity flavor. They’re a little bland, but they seem perfect for a little kid. My friend recommended trying a few different types, so tomorrow I’ll go hunting for a different brand or two.
I also wonder if I had grown up with these I might enjoy them more. I’m sure munching on them might bring about nostalgic feelings for young women remembering their childhood and the family celebrations.
Hopefully I’ll also get to see an actual doll display tomorrow, or maybe this weekend! Traditionally the dolls are taken down quickly after March 3rd, because it is believed that leaving them up in the home will delay a girl’s chances of getting married. There are a few public displays going on this weekend though, so hopefully I’ll be able to see some in person. In the meantime though, Hello Kitty is sufficiently adorable for me 🙂