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March 3 – 桃の節句 Momo-no-Sekku (Hinamatsuri)

Welcome to the series of posts made in collaboration with Kintoki sweets and ITSUMO Life exploring Japanese culture and seasonal observations.

Today is March 3rd and one of five 節句 Sekku or ceremonial days where the single odd digit of the month doubles with the corresponding odd number day. May 5th (5.5), July 7 (7.7.)September 9 (9.9) and January being an exception being Jan.7th. Double odd digits were considered significant in ancient Asian cultures and ceremonies and rituals were held on these double odd days to pray for good health and disperse any illness or bad omens.

One of the ancient traditions held on March 3rd was to decorate the house with peach blossoms and make paper or clay dolls and drift them downstream to be a proxy of your children and hope any sickness or ill omens that would have befallen on them would be washed away with the dolls.

Because Peach blossoms begin to bloom around this time and they were used to ward off bad omens, this March 3rd day is sometimes called 桃の節句 Peach Sekku. Peaches have a lot of auspicious symbolism in Asian cultures like protection, longevity and good health and look so festive when they bloom in spring. This flower and doll tradition is the origin of 雛祭り🎎hinamatsuri in Japan, the annual doll festival where gorgeous multi-tiered displays of dolls in traditional attires are displayed and good health is prayed for the girls in the family.

The rituals have changed a bit but the premise is still the same, to wish for good health for the children in the family. Hinamatsuri parties are now held where lots of spring themed food and blush colored sweets are served to celebrate this day.

We used fun Japanese vegetable cutters to create our own peach blossom spring salad with turnips dyed blush with homemade red shino and plum umesu vinegar and cut some yellow and ivory carrots for a festive dish for your table.

We wish for good health to all of you and your families and especially pray for protection of all children in these uncertain times.

Until our next exploration,
ITSUMO & Kintoki Sweets

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