Japanese annual events


Doll’s Festival

  • Festival name in Japanese: 雛祭(ひな・まつり)
  • When: 3rd of March

Japanese people pray for the health and happiness of girls on the day. 雛人形(ひな・にん・ぎょう / Hina dolls)are displayed in a house and girls eat 菱餅(ひし・もち / rice cake)and 雛あられ(ひな・あられ / rice cracker)and drink 甘酒(あま・ざけ / sweet rice wine).

Hina dolls

This is a typical set of ひな人形. At the top row, you can see the emperor and empress.

Hina rice cracker

You can see different colours in ひなあられ. White, green and pink are the main ones, which represent snow, new green leaves and life respectively.

Hina rice cake etc

You can see two types of Hina rice cakes below. They have the three colours as well. The diamond one (ひしもち) is special for ひなまつり. The three round ones on a skewer can be seen and eaten through the year but the three colours are special for ひなまつり time.

The flower is peach blossom which starts to bloom around ひなまつり time. You can see two lanterns on the left. Their name is ぼんぼり.

Children’s Day

  • Festival name in Japanese: 子供の日(こ・ども・の・ひ)
  • When: 5th of May

Armor helmet

兜(かぶと / armor helmet)can be displayed at home on Children’s Day to pray for children to grow well without getting injured.

Rice cake

The rice cakes eaten on Children’s Day are called 柏餅(かしわ・もち). You have azuki bean pastes inside かしわもち which is wrapped with a leaf of かしわ.

A leaf of かしわ is believed as good fortune and symbolises prosperity because it does not drop until a new one comes out.

The green long object below can be used as a knife or a fork when eating かしわもち.

Carp streamer

Japanese people hang up こいのぼり(carp streamer)to play for children to grow well.

What a boy is wearing below is a samurai armor helmet made with paper, which is a popular activity for children on the day.