March 3rd is a very special day in Japan. It is the day of Hina Matsuri, also known as Doll’s Festival, or Girl’s Festival. On this day, parents wish their daughters good luck and success in life by eating and drinking, and by displaying a collection of dolls.
In the old days, it was believed that the dolls would take on bad luck in place of the daughters. Parents would place dolls in rivers and watch them float away. Today, dolls are displayed to protect daughters from bad luck.
On Hina Matsuri it is also customary to drink sweet sake and eat Chirashi Sushi. Chirashi Sushi is a tossed sushi, often with cooked seasonal vegetables, or “scattered” with various sashimi, hence the name “chirashi” which means to scatter. There is no set recipe or formula for Chirashi Sushi. It is often eaten all over Japan, even on days besides Hina Matsuri, as it is easy, inexpensive and filling.
March 14 is also a unique event day in Japan. Traditionally in Japan, women give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day (February 14th). Chocolates are not only given to the men they love, but also to friends, bosses and co-workers (see our blog post from last month for details). Men return the favor one month later on White Day (March 14th) by gifting women with different types of goodies, and each item has a different meaning. For instance, if a man returns in marshmallows, it means “I don’t like you”. Candies mean “I like you” and cookies mean “let’s stay as friends”. White Day is just as popular as Valentine’s Day, and could get quite expensive for some “popular” men.
Product of The Month: Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-RAC50)
This month, we chose the Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet as the product of the month, because it makes a mean Irish Potato Pancake, just in time for St. Patty’s Day. Now, off to search for that pot o’ gold!