March 3rd is Hina Matsuri also called dolls day or peach blossom day
Girls display their hina ningyo, dolls that represent the Empress and Emperor of the Heian court. Simple sets will just have the imperial couple but more elaborate ones will have several tiers that include court ladies and musicians, ministers and samurai.
These are often passed down through the generations. My niece was gifted a full set as a baby and when set out fully has an impressive seven tiers, which virtually reaches the ceiling.
We have yet to buy sets for our daughters, mainly because I’d like to buy a simple pair rather the elaborate, but plastic, hina ningyo sold in the shops. For the moment we do just fine with my son’s origami and decorations made by the girls at kindergarten.
Sets are displayed from mid-February but after hina matsuri are quickly packed away as people used to believe that dolls left out after the 3rd March would delay their daughter’s chance of marriage.
Decorations and food feature the colours pink, white and green, representing plum blossom, snow and the new green shoots that are appearing this time of year.
My mother-in-law changes the scroll in the alcove of their Japanese style room for this one depicting the Empress and Emperor.
As with all Japanese festivals there is particular food to eat on this day. Like many families we had chirashi-zushi, scattered sushi, ours was simple without lots of raw seafood; strips of egg, nori, cucumber, shiitake, carrots and prawns. Followed by a sweet non-alcoholic sake, amazake, and hishi-mochi, a diamond shaped layered rice cake of pink, white and green.