The Doll’s Festival

My daughter recently had the unique opportunity to join a group of Japanese college students from Mukogawa Women’s University to celebrate Hinamatsuri.

The Hina-what?

Hinamatsuri is the Doll’s Festival, also known as Girl’s Day, a day for families to pray for the health and happiness of their young daughters.

Boys not allowed. Well, they let us hang around while the girls had fun.

The students from MWU, which is in Nishinomiya, Japan, were here for a year of study at the school’s branch campus in Spokane, Washington.

What’s cool is that, while they’re here soaking up the American lifestyle and improving their English skills, they took the time to expose their own culture to a group of Girl Scouts.

My daughter was paired up with a patient young woman named Ayaka, who showed her how to wear a yukata, fold origami swans, make rice cakes, paint kanji, and play with traditional Japanese toys.

After a few hours, most of the girls had warmed up quite nicely to their hosts. There’s nothing like arts and crafts to bring different cultures together! At the end of the stay, they sang the Hanimatsuri song:

Let’s light the lanterns
Let’s set peach flowers
Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums
Today is a joyful Doll’s Festival

My daughter had a great time, and was beyond thrilled to experience a brief taste of Japan.

You should never pass up an opportunity to teach your kids about other countries and cultures. Ignorance of the world beyond our borders will turn eager young learners into shallow closed-minded adults.

Seven-tiered Hina doll platform

Wearing the Yukata

Folding Origami


8 thoughts on “The Doll’s Festival

  1. That is a great opportunity! I lived in Japan and did this, too. How nice that your daughter could be a part of this group and learn some of the writing, paper folding and wear a traditional Japanese outfit. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

  2. My kids are biracial- half Mexican and half Caucasian- so teaching them about both of their ethnic backgrounds and blending the traditions my husband and I grew up with is an ongoing effort. Beyond having our kids learn our respective languages and cultures, we want our kids to be raised with an international perspective. In the ever-changing and diverse world we live in, my husband and I raise our kids to embrace their mixed heritages and celebrate diversity by exposing them to different cultural experiences-whether it’s through attending cultural events in our community, exposing them to various cuisines, or making crafts. I believe that teaching them about diversity will show them how to respect and value differences in race and culture and give them confidence in themselves and their mixed background.

  3. That is such a wonderful experience for her…I wish we have something like that too here. I remembered reading about this Doll Festival when I was a little and hoping to be in one..Japanese culture indeed is very unique! (But again all culture are!)

  4. Really cool! In a couple of months a Confucius institute will start in Groningen to promote Chinese culture, I’ve already been to a kind of celebration about it with martial art/dance and games. Pretty fun to see these sides of a culture.

    Going to Japan is still a big one on my list…

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