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Makiko Itoh SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES March 3 is Hina Matsuri, also known as Girls’ Festival or Momo no Sekku (Peach Day). This day was a traditional seasonal and religious event on the lunar calendar, during the period when peach blossoms were in bloom — around early April on the Gregorian calendar. (Japan has followed the Gregorian calendar since the late 19th century, so peaches are no longer in bloom during Hina Matsuri, but they are still symbolic of the festival.)

During the latter half of the Edo Period (1603-1868), Momo no Sekku evolved into the festival it is now: a day to celebrate women and to wish for their health and happiness. While it’s not an official national holiday, it’s observed widely in Japan, especially by families that have young daughters.

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