Japan's Hina Matsuri Festival

Japan's Hina Matsuri Festival lesson plan

Celebrate Hina Matsuri Day along with Japanese girls on March 3. This elaborate, traditional doll display will captivate imaginations!

  • 1.

    In Japan March 3rd is Girls' Day, Hina Matsuri. Hina means small doll and Matsuri means festival in Japanese. It is a holiday that celebrates traditional female values.

  • 2.

    On this day, girls display their special doll collections. These miniature dolls are elaborately dressed, decorative figures. They are exhibited on red cloth in tiered boxes or on a staircase. The dolls are replicas of the ancient Heian royal court in Kyoto. The emperor and empress sit at the top of the tiers with dolls on each level below representing members of their court.

  • 3.

    Often these ceremonial dolls are passed down from mother to daughter. On Hina Matsuri Day, girls dress in kimonos and visit friends' doll displays. They drink tea and eat pink rice cakes wrapped in leaves. Find photographs of these displays, as well as traditional kimonos and hairstyles to use as a reference.

  • 4.

    To make your Hina-Ningyo display, glue at least three recycled boxes on top of one another with Crayola® School Glue to form steps. The open sides of the boxes face out. If the boxes have decorative sides, such as tissue boxes, let them show, or decorate plain boxes with Crayola Markers. Leave room on each level for dolls. Dry.

  • 5.

    With Crayola Scissors, cut a strip of red cloth to run down the center of the tiered display, covering the box openings with fabric. Glue to boxes. Dry.

  • 6.

    Create one doll for each box in your display. Shape doll heads, neck, and bodies with white Crayola Model Magic. Add facial features and hair in traditional styles with Crayola Fine Tip Markers or bits of Model Magic. Make separate arms with hands using the modeling compound.

  • 7.

    Cut kimonos from recycled file folders, using the fold line for the shoulders. Cut Vs in the kimonos for dolls' heads to go through. Clothing will hang like a poncho. Look at pictures of traditional clothing and dolls for fabric ideas. Decorate kimonos with Crayola Markers. Add Crayola Glitter Glue for extra adornment. Dry.

  • 8.

    Put kimonos over dolls' heads. Glue arms with hands into kimonos. Place dressed dolls on tiered display. Secure with glue.

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Identify roles as learned behavior patterns in group situations such as student, family member, peer play group member, or club member.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.
  • VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

Adaptations

  • The Hina Matsuri holiday is also referred to as Peach Day. Peach blossoms are associated with young girls in Japan. Encourage students to research what the flowers of peach trees look like. What may be the connection between these blossoms and young girls? Students can use tissue paper to create peach blossoms to festoon your Hina Matsuri display.
  • Other than the peach blossom, what plants are associated to the Japanese culture? Students sketch a picture of these plants and identify each.
  • A nature-focused religious group in Japan, the Shintoists, have Nagashi-Bina on this same day. Decorative dolls are gathered together and put in boats. The boats are cast out to sea and with them, all ill fortune is carried away. In what other countries are there similar cultural rituals?
  • Both Japan and Korea celebrate Boys' Day, or Children's Day, on May 5th. How is this celebration similar to Girls' Day? How is it different?
  • Students review holiday celebrations that they are familiar with from their own culture. Are there any that are similar to Girls' Day? Boys' Day? Compare and contrast celebrations from both cultures.