"Kyou ha tanoshii Hinamatsuri!"
Today's the fun Doll's Festival!
Actually, it isn't, but since March 3rd is a Monday and I always end up working late Mondays, and we're planning on putting these dolls
away tomorrow, we went ahead and did a quasi-celebration today.
The purpose of the holiday is to ask the powers that be for the girl(s) in the family to grow up healthy and beautiful and marry good men. The dolls symbolize the Emperor
and the Empress
but they also symbolize the girl and her future husband, and how much better than the Emperor can you get?
(Don't answer that. Especially if you are Princess Masako. And isn't it amusing how none of her health problems are discussed in this Wikipedia article?)
Those dolls used to be mine. We're supposed to buy a new set for the Pumpkin Princess, but the Pumpkin Mommy and Daddy are lazy people so we just dusted off the Pumpkin Mommy's old dolls. These dolls have been places. Nearly three decades ago, they went to my elementary school for a "Japan Day" presentation by my mom, along with three dozen kappa-maki (cucumber sushi) for the 1st graders to sample. "Japan Day" was a bit of a hit, and other teachers in other schools wanted my mom to do her gig at their school too (and bring her kappa-maki). I got to get off of school and tag along to be her translator. It made me feel very clever and important.
Anyway. Since we decided to do Hinamatsuri, I cooked a special dinner.
I used a "chirashizushi mix" that had seasoning and pre-cooked vegetables vacuum packed and mixed it in the freshly cooked rice. I also mixed in some grilled salmon. Then I garnished it with scrambled egg sliced into thin threads, cucumber, mitsuba and ikura (salmon roe).
Clam soup is a Hinamatsuri staple. I made broth from konbu and katsuobushi (dried fish flakes). After letting the broth cool a bit, I tossed in the clams, brought the whole thing to a rolling boil, and salted to taste. The two shells of a clam will match each other but no other, and this symbolizes the relationship the girl and her future husband are hoped to have.
So why am I so intent on putting the dolls away tomorrow? Why can't I wait until next weekend? Well, if superstition is to be believed, leaving the dolls out longer than necessary will lead to marriage at a later age, or worse (gasp!) eternal spinsterhood. That would be tragic.
I'm being sarcastic, of course. Still, we might be having the Pumpkin Daddy's friends over next Saturday morning, and they might believe in the old superstitions and bring it up and cause me to burst into my uber-feminist speech about how marriage is not the final goal for a woman, the final goal for a woman, or a person, should be how much they can accomplish for others and be happy while doing it, not to be a slave to be taken for granted by her husband,
(and this is where, to non-feminists, I start to sound like feminism feminism feminism feminism I am bitter because I am plain feminism feminism feminism I am bitter because the guy I crushed on in university wouldn't give me the time of day feminism feminism feminism. So I'll stop now. Happy Hinamatsuri.)