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Let's Celebrate Hinamatsuri Day

written by: Sonal Panse • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 1/5/2012

This lesson will help preschoolers get acquainted with Japanese culture. Introducing different cultures to children in a gradual and natural way will make it easier for them to understand and adapt to the differences they will come across in the world.

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    "Let's Celebrate Hinamatsuri Day" is a lesson plan that can be included in preschool activities for culture. The purpose is to introduce children to Japan and Japanese cultural traditions. Teaching cultural awareness goes a long way in contributing towards making children tolerant and having well-adjusted personalities.

    Materials:

    • Colorful scarves or shawls
    • Tissue paper or paper napkins
    • Colors - markers, crayons, water-colors, etc.
    • A world map
    • Photographs of Japan and Japanese culture
    • A computer with Internet
    • Glue
    • Colored ribbons
    • Dolls
    • Flowers, including real or artificial peach blossoms
    • Toy tea set
    • Food for tea - colorful crackers or Japanese food, if available
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    Prior knowledge:

    Hinamatsuri Day is a celebration day for girls in Japan. It takes place on 3rd March every year and Japanese families make wishes for the good health, growth, and happiness for their girls. For this reason, it is also known as Girls' Day. Another name for this day is Momo no sekku or Peach Festival.

    In their homes, on this day, Japanese people set up the Hinamatsuri dolls. These are traditionally dressed dolls, representing the Japanese Emperor and Emperess and their attendants. Usually, there are around 15 dolls and these are set on separate, red-cloth covered platforms. The Emperor and the Emperess are placed on the highest level.

    Teach:

    • Talk to the children about Japan and Japanese culture.
    • Show them where Japan is situated on a world map.
    • Show them pictures of Japanese people, particularly Japanese children.
    • Show them pictures of kimonos and of traditional Hinamatsuri celebrations in Japan.
    • Explain what Hinatmasuri Day is.
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    Activity:

    • Have the children bring their own dolls to be the Hinamatsuri dolls.
    • Show the children how to make paper kimonos from tissue paper or paper napkins. Have them color these and wrap them around their dolls. Use glue or a ribbon to fix the kimonos in place.
    • Create make-shift platforms on a table and arrange the kimono-clad dolls on them. Decorate with flowers.
    • Show the children how to wrap a scarf or a shawl around themselves to resemble a kimono.
    • Help the children to lay out the toy tea set and the food, and sit down on mats to have tea in the Japanese fashion.
    • Talk about the food and what Japanese people eat.
    • Put on the Hinamatsuri song and teach the children to sing along. You can find it on YouTube. The link and lyrics are given below.

    Assess:

    Ask each child about their dolls and about what they liked about the Hinamatsuri Day.

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    Extend:

    You can extend the toddler activities for culture by teaching the children a few basic phrase words of Japanese like -

    • Hello - Konnichiwa. (kon-nee-chee-wa)
    • How are you? - O-genki desu ka? (o-gen-ki-des-ka)
    • Yes - Hai (hah-ee)
    • No - Iie (eeee-eh)
    • Thank you - Domo arigato (do-mo ah-ree-ga-toh)
    • Good Morning - Ohayou (o-ha-yu)
    • Good Night - Oyasuminasai (o-ya-sumi-nasai)
    • Good Bye - Sayonara (sa-yo-na-ra)

    Lyrics of the Hinamatsuri Song -

    Akari o tsukemashou bonbori ni

    Ohana o agemashou momo no hana

    Go-nin bayashi no fue taiko

    Kyo wa tanoshii Hinamatsuri

    Translation -

    Let's light the lanterns

    Let's arrange the peach flowers

    Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums

    Today is a joyful Dolls' Festival

    YouTube Link - Hinamatsuri Song