Hinamatsuri is the Girl's Day in Japan. Celebrate with Kizakura Nigori Sake!

01 Mar 2019

Hinamatsuri history

Hinamatsuri is one of the five seasonal festivals (五節句 go-sekku) that are held on auspicious dates of the Chinese calendar: the first day of the first month, the third day of the third month, and so on. After the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, these were fixed on 1 January, 3 March, 5 May, 7 July, and 9 September. The festival was traditionally known as the Peach Festival (桃の節句 Momo no Sekku), as peach trees typically began to flower around this time. Although this is no longer true since the shift to Gregorian dates, the name remains and peaches are still symbolic of the festival.

During the latter half of the Edo Period (1603-1868), Momo no Sekku evolved into the festival it is now: a day to celebrate women and to wish for their health and happiness. While it’s not an official national holiday, it’s observed widely in Japan, especially by families that have young daughters.

The centerpiece of Hina Matsuri is the ohina-sama or hina (princess) doll display, depicting the wedding procession of an imperial princess of the Heian Period (794-1185).The dolls and regalia together are known as hinakazari. They can vary from simple affairs of only a couple steps to elaborate, multi-tiered displays. Families often buy a new set of dolls when the first daughter is born, while others pass down hinakazari from one generation to the next.

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Traditionally, girls in Japan invite their friends to a home party to celebrate this festival Peach blossoms, shiro-zake (white fermented rice wine) and hishi-mochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes) are placed on the stand with the hina dolls. Hishi-mochi are colored pink representing peach flowers, white representing snow, and green representing new growth.

雛あられ、菱餅、白酒

Recommended sake

While nigori sake is less sweet than shirozake, we think it is a great drink for Hinamatsuri! Nigorizake is milk-white, unfiltered (or lightly filtered) sake. Fermented rice solids left in this sake create creamy, mouth-filling clouds complementing notes of pear and lychee. Despite its richness, it’s not sweet and – drunk chilled – it’s a great accompaniment to spicy food.

Kizakura Nigorizake is a fresh light flavoured nigori sake with low alcohol content. It has a mild sweet and sour taste reminiscent of yogurt and best chilled or on the ice. We think it is the perfect drink to celebrate femininity!

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