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Point of interest: 雛祭り(ひなまつり)

雛祭り(ひなまつり) - Japan's annual doll festival and girl's day
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ひなまつ
雛祭
り, more commonly encountered in the form ひな
まつ
り, literally means 'doll festival', and is celebrated on the 3rd March every year. ひな祭り is a traditional family day in Japan, and commonly known as 'Girl's day' due to the custom of creating elaborate displays of
ひな
にんぎょう
人形
, hina dolls, on multi-tiered platforms known as
ひなだん
雛壇
.
The origins of the 雛人形 date back thousands of years to a custom that originally began in China as a means of ridding oneself of bad luck and evil spirits. A paper or straw ひな is rubbed over one's body, transferring the evil to it, and then put on a boat and floated out to sea. One of the largest celebrations of this custom, known as
ながしひな
流し雛
, 'floating dolls', used to be put on by the Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto at the junction of the two main rivers, the Takano and Kamo, but is now held out at sea due to problems with the dolls getting caught in fishing nets.
The 雛壇 are multi-tiered platforms covered in brightly colored red carpet. In a typical household dolls are placed on up to seven levels, but in some elaborate examples they can cover hundreds of steps of a temple staircase! Dolls on each level represent different court members from the
へいあん
平安
じだい
時代
, the Heian Era, starting with the Emperor, Empress, and then various attendants and musicians. All the dolls wear traditional court dress of the Heian Era - elaborate multi-layered kimono called
じゅうにひとえ
十二単
for women, and
そくたい
束帯
for males.
The Heian Era (literally 'peace era') of Japanese history, which began in 794 and lasted almost 200 years, is considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and was a period in which poetry and literature flourished. The capital of Japan was moved to
へいあんきょう
平安京
, which became modern day
きょうと
京都
, Kyoto, and remained there for almost 1000 years, until the
めいじ
明治
いしん
維新
, the Meiji restoration, in 1868, which was the beginning of modern Japan.
ひな
is a Jinmeiyō kanji, i.e. it is used in names (such as the girl's name ひな) - in total it appears in over 100 Japanese names. It has a frequency of 2357, which makes it less common than (most of) the 2136 Jōyō kanji, but more common than most of the kanji used only in names. It actually means 'chick' (as in, baby bird), and is composed of the two components 隹 and 芻. 隹 is a very common component meaning 'little bird' - it is used as
/searchcg?q=隹
part of 104 kanji
. 芻 is a much less common component meaning 'mow (grass etc.)'. 芻 makes more sense when you see it is composed of two more basic elements, both very common - 勹 meaning 'wrap' and 屮 meaning 'sprout'. Putting these components together, we have the Kanshudo mnemonic for 雛: 'you mow the grass (芻) for the little bird (隹) as it's just a chick'.
雛祭り is also a great opportunity to sample some colorful and tasty traditional Japanese dishes, in particular ちらし
ずし
寿司
, chirashizushi (a mix of vegetables, egg and seafood scattered on top of sushi rice),
わがし
和菓子
Japanese cakes and desserts, in particular the three-colored
ひしもち
菱餅
, hishimochi.

Words used in this point of interest

noun
1. young bird; chick  (often written with kana only)
2. hina doll; doll displayed during the Girls' Festival  (this meaning is restricted to reading ひな)
(click the word to view an additional 2 readings, 1 meaning and 4 forms, examples and links)
1
5
TEST
noun
Hinamatsuri (March 3rd); Girls' Festival; Dolls' Festival  (see also: 三月の節句)
(click the word to view an additional 3 forms, examples and links)
9
TEST
noun
hina doll; doll displayed during the Girls' Festival
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
doll; puppet; figure
(click the word for examples and links)
4
2
TEST
noun
paper dolls floated downriver on March 3rd
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
1. tiered doll stand (for hina dolls)  (see also: 雛人形)
2. tiered platform; tiered gallery
(click the word to view an additional 3 forms, examples and links)
TEST
noun
Heian period (794-1185)
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
1. twelve-layered ceremonial kimono (worn by a court lady)
2. ajuga (Ajuga nipponensis); bugle
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
old ceremonial court dress
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
ancient Kyoto
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
Kyoto
(click the word for examples and links)
4
TEST
noun
Meiji Restoration
(click the word for examples and links)
9
TEST
noun
sushi rice in a box or bowl with a variety of ingredients sprinkled on top  (see also: ばら寿司, 五目鮨; food term)
(click the word to view an additional 3 forms, examples and links)
TEST
noun
wagashi; traditional Japanese confectionery
(click the word for examples and links)
6
TEST
noun
rhombus-shaped mochi
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST

Kanji used in this point of interest

ひな chick, young bird   
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サイ   まつ festival   まつ to deify, enshrine   
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4
ジン   ニン   ひと man   
1
ケイ   ギョウ   shape   かたち    かた    
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3
ダン   タン    podium   
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5
ル   リュウ   ながれる to flow   なが to pour out, to flush    
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3
ヘイ   ビョウ   たい flat   ひら ordinary; flat   
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3
アン   やす peaceful; cheap   
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2
ジ   とき time, occasion   
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1
タイ   ダイ   かえる to replace, to exchange   かわる to be exchanged   よ the world   しろ substitute   
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2
ジュウ   ジッ   と    とお ten   
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1
ニ   ふた    ふた two   
1
タン    simple   
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3
ソク   たば bundle   たばねる to tie in a bundle   
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3
タイ   belt   おび sash   おびる to wear, to carry   
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4
キョウ   ケイ    capital   
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2
ト   ツ   みやこ capital city, metropolis   
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3
メイ   ミョウ   あかり light   あかるい bright   あかるむ to brighten   あからむ to become luminous (at dawn)   あきらか obvious   あかす to lay bare   あ to open   あける to empty   
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2
ジ   チ   おさめる to govern   おさまる to be at peace   なお to get better   なお to cure   
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3
イ    fiber, rope   
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5
シン   あたらしい    あら    にい- new   
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2
little bird
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スウ    to mow, to cut grass   
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wrap
sprout (ie, new shoot of a plant)   
寿
ジュ   ス   ことぶき longevity   
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4
シ    administer   
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5
ワ   オ    peace, harmony   なご to be calmed down   なごやか calm, gentle   やわらぐ to be softened   やわらげる to soften; to alleviate   
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3
カ    candy   
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4
シ   ス   こ child   
1
リョウ   diamond   ひし    
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ヘイ   もち mochi   
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5
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