March 3rd is called Hinamatsuri ひな祭り in Japan and is a day to celebrate female children, and pray for their continued health and happiness.
Young girls often put on their best kimonos and visit their friends’ homes.
It’s common for Japanese homes with girls to put up elaborate doll displays of the Empress and Emperor and their entourage -these can be family heirlooms passed down through generations. They’re called hina-ningyou ひな人形.
Superstition says if you leave your dolls up for too long the girl won’t get married.
In my feisty feminist 20s (I’m in my feisty feminist 40s now) – I deliberately left my dolls up in rebellion of this superstition and to protest the limited idea girls need marriage in order to be happy.
I’m here to report the superstition doesn’t work and I’m now married.
And also that I’m happy now, AND I was happy before marriage too;-)
Families with girls also eat a special rice dish called chirashi zushi, clam soup and strawberry daifuku (a tasty glutinous rice-based sweet)for good luck and prosperity.
If you’ve got girls in your family and would like to celebrate Girls Day and welcome in good luck, here’s a healthy chirashi zushi recipe.
Chirashi means ‘scattered’ – and you can make it with various ingredients.
It’s the ultimate (and original!) poke bowl that makes a tasty, light dinner or weekend lunch.
25 mins prep; 35-40 mins cooking
Once presented beautifully, mix ingredients and flavours as desired.
Serve with wasabi and tamari sauce.
*lotus root = available fresh and frozen from good Asian food stores.
**umeboshi paste= salted plum paste. This is used quite often for it’s medicinal qualities in Marcrobiotic cooking. You can also use a whole umeboshi plum you’ve mashed up in a suribachi (or mortar and pestle) – available from good health stores and good Asian food shops.
***shiso leaves= available from good Asian food stores.