March 3rd in Japan is known a “Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Festival)” this is a day to pray for young girl’s growth and happiness. The word hina means “girl” or “princess” so I’ve also heard a lot of people call it the princess girl festival.
Families generally start to display “hina-ningyo” (special dolls for Hinamatsuri) in February and take them down immediately after the festival. Superstition says that leaving the dolls past March 4th will result in a late marriage for the daughter.
The displays are usually arranged on a five or seven-tiered stand covered with a red carpet. At the top are the imperial dolls these are the Emperor and Empress. The next step contains three court ladies (sannin-kanjo), followed by five musicians (gonin-bayashi), two ministers (udaijin and sadaijin), and three servants ending the bottom row in a five-tiered display.
Pan sensei had a beautiful display in her house when we went to bread class on Thursday, she had also prepared a special Hinamatsuri dinner for us. We felt so loved when she said she would be our Japanese mother as we are so far away from our own.
This month we made some ‘Cream Pan’s’ (bread with custard inside) and some mouthwatering pizza’s. The three of us all go straight from work which means we are starving while baking, so it is very hard not to dribble when we smell it cooking in the oven. We also made a traditional Japanese snack called Karinto, which are deep fried brown sugared snacks. Yum bite sized goodness.