Last week I had my first encounter with rescheduling mail delivery in Japan. A completely unnecessary redelivery as I was actually home and heard the doorbell ring 4 times, I just didn’t feel like seeing anyone at that time. But as I got the package the next day from my Tokyo host family I was wondering what they had sent me and why. It’s not christmas, it’s not my birthday, why this package?
The reason? Hinamatsuri, also known as girl’s day which falls on March the 3rd every year.
Families with girls will usually display traditional dolls, called ohina-sama in february for the fortune and health of their girls and then take them down again immediately after the festival, as leaving them till the 4th of March will apparently result in a late marriage for the girl.
For me this festival has meant seeing a bit more of Japanese consumer culture, barely recovering from Valentine’s, the supermarkets start selling goods for hinamatsuri (actually they started before Valentine’s ended). However unlike Valentine’s I am less cynical towards Hinamatsuri, in fact I’ve enjoyed the supermarket displays of Hinamatsuri. It is after all a holiday that has a long history, but not only that the displays also somehow signify the fast impending spring. With decorations of sakura, rice crackers in pastel colors and bottles filled with a pleasant-looking pink liquid, it seems equally a celebration of daughters as well as spring.