Hinamatsuri is usually called Girls’ Day or the Doll Festival in English. It is celebrated each year by families to pray for the health (健康) and happiness (幸福) of young girls.

Hina-ningyo can be translated as ornamental dolls. They represent (象徴する) the imperial court from the Heian period (平安時代の宮廷).

We can introduce some of the traditional Hinamatsuri foods and drinks like this:

  • hina-arare – multi-coloured rice crackers
  • chirashizushi – raw fish and vegetables on rice
  • hishi mochi – multi-coloured, diamond-shaped rice cakes
  • amazake – sweet (non-alcoholic) sake

Snacks like arare and senbei are usually called rice crackers in English and sweets like mochi are called rice cakes.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it is OK to use the Japanese names for things like foods and traditional Japanese items. You can then try to explain what it is in a simple way. By doing this you can teach people the Japanese name and practice English at the same time.

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