Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hina-Matsuri {Japanese Dolls Festival} in Singapore

Hina-matsuri {Japanese Doll's Festival, ひな祭り} is an important Japanese festival on 3 March, especially for those families with girls. It's celebrated to wish good health and happiness for the daughters and families put up hina-ningyo {special Japanese dolls for the festival, ひな人形} on display shelves at home. These dolls are dressed in costumes of the imperial court with the Emperor {o-dairi-sama, 御内裏様} and Empress {o-hina-sama, 御姫様}at the top tier. Something like my photo above... except the dolls don't look like onigiris {rice balls} at all haha.

The dolls are usually displayed from Feb but it's bad luck to leave the dolls out for too long, so they have to be kept by 4 March. If not, it's believed that the daughters will marry late, or not at all.

Liang Court is celebrating the first-ever Hina-matsuri in Singapore from now to the festival next weekend, so we all went down to have a look and take part in one of the activities, Emperor & Empress Obento-making Workshop. I wore my yukata while Lil Pumpkin had her jimbei on :)

The workshop took about an hour and it was fun to make the kyara-ben {character-obento キャラ弁} with Lil Pumpkin! My mum is a pro with kyara-bens and I have all the obento tools, but I never really tried before as they seem quite time-consuming to make ;p After going through this workshop, I'm inspired {again!} to try and make these more often for myself & Lil Pumpkin. Kyara-bens are so cute ^^V

Lil Pumpkin was such a good girl and happy to help... and taste the food haha.

Ta-dah! Our Hina-matsuri themed Emperor & Empress obento. Not bad for a first attempt!

With the workshop instructor, Shirley. Thanks for the wonderful experience!

Liang Court, in conjunction with Tampopo restaurant, also brought in real snow straight from Hokkaido. This was a hit with the kids! It's free to play with the snow and the area is open from 2-9pm, this weekend and next.

Other Hina-matsuri activities over these 2 weekends include yukata photo-taking booths, origami workshops, Japanese Tosenkyo {traditional Edo-era game where players try to hit a target with an open fan、投扇興} games, and a record attempt to build Singapore's largest chirashi-zushi {traditional rice dish to celebrate the festival, 散らし寿司}.

On 3 March,  there will also be a "Girls Party" for the shoppers to mark the actual festival day with musical performances and free samplings of traditional Hina-matsuri food and snacks. All party guests will also receive an exclusive party bag!  You've to spend a minimum amont to redeem an invitation, or go dressed in a yukata for free entry. We'll be on a weekend getaway to celebrate our 10th anniversary so can't make it. Let me know if you go and show me the party pics!

After Lil Pumpkin had enough fun with the snow, we ate dinner at Saizeriya then went for a nice stroll along the Singapore River, which is just 5 minutes away from Liang Court. One of my favourite activities whenever we come here.

Such a beautiful weather for our stroll! It had been raining heaps the past few days but today the sky was clear with a cool night breeze. Perfect!

Before we left, we dropped by Meidi-ya at Liang Court to get some traditional Hina-matsuri snacks like hina-arare {rice puffs/crackers dyed white, pink & green for the festival, ひなあられ} and hishi-mochi {diamond-shaped layer mochi, 菱餅}. Meidi-ya is also having a Hina-matsuri Food Fair now.

Prettily-packaged Japanese candy!

Such intricate designs and all too pretty to eat!

A giant Empress Onigiri Music Box! Lil Pumpkin was rather amused with Empress Onigiri, who is part of the new Onigiri mascots for the shopping mall. If you spend a minimum amount, you can redeem a mini version of this musical box.

A nice addition to our muscial box collection :) it plays a lovely Hina-matsuri tune too.

Liang Court Hina-matsuri Festival
177 River Valley Road
Period: 15 February - 3 March 2013

Check out the other fun activities we did with Lil Pumpkin here or my list of Kid-Friendly places in Singapore.  Let me know if you have other recommendations :)

* Disclosure: The event coverage was due to an invitation from Liang Court for Hina-matsuri 2013 Celebration. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

 photo stickygram-instagram-magenets-international-giveaway_zpsc669649f.jpg



Peony said...

Why didn't wear your geta to go with your yukata?

Madeline Heng said...

Woo looks like fun! You look great in the kimono :)

Unknown said...

Thank you!! I am glad you had fun at my bento workshop and I hope to see your own kyaraben creations too! :D

rie said...


Ai Sakura said...

Peony: Couldn't find them.. I think they are in MIL's place.

Madeline: It was! Pretty sure girlgirl will like it. Bring her down this weekend :)

Shirley: Yeah I hope so too haha

rie: 是非是非!

Theresa Mahoney said...

That does look like a lot of fun. The dolls are so cute :)

oomph. said...

thanks for the background on those dolls. they are pretty to look at!

funny i saw this because i am currently looking for a kimono for my son for his japanese program at school!!