Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Celebrate Hina-matsuri Festival At Liang Court!


Have you heard of the Hina-Matsuri Festival? I’ve only just heard about it recently, and I think it’s such a fun and interesting festival! As a mother of two daughters, this festival means a lot to me, especially the meaning behind why it is celebrated.


The Hina-Matsuri or Doll Festival is an annual festival traditionally celebrated on 3 March in Japan. It is a festival celebrated in Japan to show the love and blessing between mothers to their daughters. Hina-Matsuri is a day where mothers would strengthen her bond with their daughter and prepare for their healthy development.

On this day, families with girls wish their daughters a successful and happy life, and families celebrate by setting up Hina-ningyo, ornamental dolls, on a beautiful display called Hina-kazari, just like the photograph below.

Families generally start to display the dolls from mid February during the start of Spring. They have to be taken them down immediately after the festival. Superstition says that leaving the dolls past March 4 will result in a late marriage for the daughter.


So if you look closer at this photo, you will notice that the dolls are placed in tiers. If you are wondering what kind of dolls they are, I did my research and summarized it for my readers! :D

The first tier (from the top): Holds two dolls, they are also known as the imperial dolls. There is an Emperor doll and an Empress doll. The dolls are traditionally placed in front of gold folding screen byōbu and placed beside green Japanese garden trees.

The second tier: Holds three court ladies san-nin kanjo. Each holds sake-serving equipment. Accessories placed between the ladies are Takatsuki, they are round tabletops with stands and they hold Japanese seasonal sweets.

The third tier: Holds five male musicians, they each hold a musical instrument, except the singer who holds a fan.

The fourth tier: Holds two men that are depicted as ministers, they are both sometimes equipped with bows and arrows.

The fifth tier (bottom): Holds three helpers or samurai as the protectors of the Emperor and Empress.

You can try your hand at a simple Hina Kazuri game with your daughter and fellow mothers. Click here:

Food and drinks play a major role during Hina Matsuri when fellow girl friends are invited over for a home party. Some of the must haves are centred around peach blossoms (Hina-matsuri is also called momo-no-sekku, which means a festival of peach blossoms) and rice variants like shiro-zake (white fermented rice wine), and hishi-mochi (diamond shaped rice cakes).


Hishi-mochi is symbolic of the heart, representing the longing of parents when thinking about their kids. They are colored in pink (implies peach flowers), white (implies priority), and green (implies new growth).


Colorful hina-arare are only available from January to March during Hina Matsuri. They are crackers made from glutinuous rice, filled with soy sauce or sugar, depending on the region. I know my daughters will love them!


A salt-based soup called ushiojiru containing clams still in the shell is also served. Clam shells in food are deemed the symbol of a united and peaceful couple, because a pair of clam shells fits perfectly, and no pair but the original pair can do so.


Chirashizushi, scattered sushi, a bowl of rice topped with a variety of sashimi or colorful garnishes mixed in a bowl.

I love how the whole festival is all about blessings and good fortune. Deep down in the hearts of all parents, that’s exactly what we hope for our children.

Now, fret not that we cannot be a part of this interesting festival because we are not in Japan! Liang Court is running a series of fun activities in celebration of the Hina-Matsuri Festival.

Just last Saturday, we attended one of their mother daughter workshops conducted and it was the first time Joey and I did sewing together – We made a pretty coin purse! The stitches could have been done neater, but most importantly, we enjoyed our mother-and-daughter bonding time.

We were each given a kit with all the materials in it. Quite a bit of sewing was needed and I thought I would end up making the whole thing myself but Joey totally took me by surprise – She enjoyed sewing so much! I would seriously get her to sew her own loose buttons from now on. =P


Look at all the mother-and-daughter pairs paying close attention to the demonstration. Even though there were several steps to be done, the instructors were able to coach us step-by-step. I was somewhat amazed that I could remember how to do certain stitches and that I’ve not let my Home Economics teacher down.

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We had to insert sponges and stitch up the insides of the purse before sewing the hairline and stitching on the smiling eyebrows and mouth. Joey picked up really fast, and even though she was not able to work her stitches fast, she was patient and tried her best to keep the stitching neat. Very proud of her!


Sewing trains fine motor skills, and cultivates patience, which kids really need. Going by how much Joey enjoyed the little project, I should really plan more sewing projects for her soon.


The halfway-done coin purse – Such an adorable Japanese girl face, isn’t it? :)


And after stitching on the eyes, mouth and decorative buttons, the purse was almost done!


The final touchup was to give the girl a little blusher on her cheeks with pink powder. Check out the final product – Really sweet-looking!


We had such a great time doing the project together – It was a Saturday afternoon well-spent with my daughter. Very precious!


Jayne may be too young for the sewing project, but that did not stop her from having fun. Armed with the Hina-matsuri Learning Funbook, she went around Liang Court, searching for the different dolls showcased and to get the booklet stamped!

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Pardon that very strenuous smile – She was trying to exert all her energy on the stamping and smile at the same time, haha!


Are you excited as I am? Because that’s not the best part!

There will be an “All Girls Party” on the 2nd of March where there will be performances, traditional Hina-Matsuri food and free goodie bags for all! If you go dressed in Yukata, you will also receive 2 sets of carnival coupons. A Yukata is a casual summer kimono, usually made out of cotton or synthetic fabric. This really made me want to go buy my girls Yukata costumes!

To find out more about the Hina-Matsuri festival, you can go to Liang Court’s website to gather more information.


I’m looking forward to be soaked in the fun atmosphere of the Hina-Matsuri Festival at Liang Court. Hope to see you there too! =D

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Don’t wait up, go on and like Liang Court’s Facebook page: for the latest updates on Hina Matsuri. #liangcourt #hinamatsuri