Monday, February 26, 2007

March 3 Girls Day

A slow week.How slow?..When the only thing you recall is how apt the name of the Director of the World Health Organisation's Aids department is........Doctor Kevin de Cock.
His name appeared in a newspaper article about circumcision and HIV prevention.Wonder if he ever gets ribbed about it?

Girls Day
March 3 is the day when Girls Day is celebrated.The festival is known as Hina Matsuri (hina doll festival) or momo no sekku(peach flower festival).On this day parents and families with girls pray for their happines and health.
During the day girls wear kimomos.
Special food is eaten on this day.Among the food eaten is hina arale, a rice cake that has been dried,roasted then sprinkled with sugar and dried again.Hishi mochi are diamond shaped rice cakes which are red,white and green in color and offered along with prayers for the girls health and good fortune.Chirashi zushi (colourful sushi) is also eaten along with sweet rice cakes known as sakura mochi.Ama-sake, a kind of non-alcoholic rice wine is also drank by children on this day.

Special dolls are also displayed in the homes of Japanese girls.The dolls are known as hina ninngjyou.Hina means princess and ninngjyou means doll.The dolls represent a royal family and are displayed on a set of steps.On the top step are the emperor and empress dolls.Below them are dolls representing the royal family's courtiers,On other steps are three dolls holding rice cakes as offerings and below them are five musician dolls holding traditional Japanese instruments.Below the musicians are a further four male dolls and finally on the last step, pieces of furniture.
The custom of displaying dolls,some very elaborate and expensive,dates back to the Edo period.The custom can apparently be traced back to an even earlier one (hina nagashi) where participants put dolls into a boat and floated it down a river to the sea.The theory being,the boat would take all troubles and bad spirits with it.

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