The 3rd of March is the Doll’s Festival in Japan. It’s also called “Hinamatsuri”. It’s the day to pray for the health and happiness of young girls. We have many traditional foods associated with the day.
Families present these foods to the Festival Dolls as an offering for a few weeks. And on the Festival day, they eat them for celebration.
Hishimochi is one of these Doll’s Festival foods. They are rice cakes of the diamond shape, and have three layers.
Hishi means rhombus shape in Japanese. Mochi means rice cake. So, the name comes directly from the nature. But why does it have three layers?
The spring is just around the corner on the Festival day. So, the colors of the traditional foods imply the scent of the spring in the air. Hishimochi is not an exception.
The three colors signify the signs of spring. That is, pink Japanese plum blossoms when white snow still remains on fresh green. In the picture, they are presented upside down. It is to emphasize the green color against the pinkish small candies around.
The colors call visual imagination. And they have some meanings from their ingredients point of view, too. Traditionally, they use Chinese herbal medicines for each color.
For the pink color, they use the fruits of gardenias. They help with detoxification. The color means health and a charm against bad luck.
For the white color, they use water caltrop seeds. They are known to decrease blood pressure, and symbolize the prosperity of descendants. As you know, the color also means purity.
For the green color, they use Japanese mugwort. They help with blood forming. You can expect lowering temperature when running a fever, too. The color means healthy and happy life and longevity of the girls.
The rhombus shape has some meanings, too. The shape has been believed to protect you against evil spirits. It also symbolizes the prosperity of descendants. Because the Chinese character for the rhombus shape is same as the water caltrop.
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