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Weekly Words no. 1: Hinamatsuri

Tomorrow, March 3rd, is the Japanese celebration of Hinamatsuri! I have been very excited as this is one of my favorite Japanese festivals!

The holiday is commonly translated into English as "Girls' Day," but a more correct translation is "Doll Festival." The festival is meant to bring health and happiness to girls.

In the time leading to March 3rd, families (especially ones with daughters) will put their hina dolls on display in the home. The dolls are fashioned to look like members of the ancient court of Heian Era Japan. Along with the dolls are exquisitely detailed props and accessories, such as lanterns and rice cakes (mochi). On the top tier of the display sits the emperor and empress dolls, with the members of their court displayed in descending order of importance. Below I have placed a video showcasing a song for this holiday.

(It comes from a personal favorite YouTube channel of mine, Japanese Folk Songs. Lyrics are shown in romaji and translated into English for you convenience and enjoyment!)

Floating doll ceremonies also take place at this time. Dolls are crafted out of straw or paper, and are sent floating down rivers. The dolls are said to carry the sins of those who make them, and thus cleanse and absolve people of their sins. This ceremony mirrors the events in the creation tale of Izanami and Izanagi. Here's a video from Crash Course where Mike Rugnetta tells the story starting at about 6:53.

Because I love this festival so much, this week's words are related to the event! Here they are:

• Haru the Spring season. Written in kana as はる and in kanji as 春

ex. に雨がふります。

Haru ni ame ga furimasu.

It rains in the Spring.

• Matsuri festival. Written in kana as まつり and in kanji as 祭り or 祭

ex. 祭りに行きたいの? Matsuri ni ikitai no? Want to go to the festival?

• Heian jidai the Heian period of Japanese history; 794 – 1185 AD; literally translated as period of peace . Written in kana as へいあんじだい and in kanji as 平安時代

ex. 学生たちは平安時代を勉強しました。 Gakuseitachi wa heian jidai wo benkyou shimashita. The students studied the Heian period.

• Hina the dolls displayed in families' homes during Hinamatsuri. Written in kana as ひな and in kanji as 雛

ex. 妹さんはひながありますか。 Imouto-san wa hina ga arimasu ka.

Does your little sister have hina?

• Utsukushii beautiful. Written in kana as うつくしい and in kanji as 美しい

ex. そのひなは美しいだ! Sono hina wa utsukushii da!

That hina doll is beautiful!


Add these vocab words to your flashcards, and let me know how your studying goes!

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