Last weekend, EV and I attended a bento making workshop which part of the Hina-matsuri Festival at Liang Court.
Hina-matsuri (Japanese Dolls Festival) is celebrated every year on 3 March to celebrate and wish good health and happiness for daughters. Families celebrate by setting up Hina-ningyo (ornamental dolls) on a beautiful display called Hina-kazari. The dolls are dressed in costumes of the imperial court with the Emperor and Empress being at the topmost tier. This custom of displaying dolls originated during the Heian period (AD794 – 1185). According to traditional Japanese culture, it is believed that leaving the Hina-kazari displayed after 4 March might result in a late marriage for the daughter.
EV was very grumpy that day, and was in a 'I don't want to take photos' mood. But she worked with mummy on the bento, mixing, rolling and patting the rice to make into onigiri (rice balls) for the face and body of the emperor and empress.
|The instructor Shirley Wong (in blue) with her assistant.|
|Mixing in the decorative toppings.|
One of her most enjoyable moment was cutting the sushi! She was all smiles, and of course, she couldn't resist from stealing bites.
|Mummy, I cut, I cut!|
|Want some seaweed?|
By this time, EV was so famished, she wolfed down one of the onigiri and ham flower. This energized her to play with snow from Hokkaido, specially brought in by the Tampopo group.
|See, mummy... snow!!|
The bento making session was great for us to spend some time together, but I think for EV, the highlight of the day was the snow. Lucky girl, seeing real snow at the young age of three. Mummy only saw real snow when she was in her 20s.
What I personally liked about the festival was the activity book that is given free at the Customer Service Counter at level 2. There are activities like connect the dots and word search, but the real fun is collecting the stamps of the onigiri family dressed in royal costumes. The stamps of each of the six characters are located at different parts of the mall. We did hunt them down, but EV preferred to put their stickers (included in the book) in the allocated space in the book. Oh well.. she's in a 'I love stickers' stage at the moment.
Besides these, there was also a set of ornamental dolls called Hina-ningyo that represents the Emperor, Empress, attendants and musicians in court costumes from the Heian period (794 - 1185) on display.
Before we left, we had a quick look around at the fairs selling Japanese snacks and goodies. There are two - one at the main atrium near the lifts, and the second is on basement one, at the entrance to Meidi-ya. Lots of stuff there that aren't usually available in Singapore, including some Hello Kitty goodies.
The Hina-matsuri Festival continues this weekend. On 2 March, Saturday, there will be an attempt to set “the first and biggest Chirashi Zushi*” record in Singapore, with about 100 shoppers working together to prepare the dish. Chirashi Zushi is a traditional dish prepared during the Hina-matsuri festival to celebrate both good health and happiness.
On 3 March, Sunday, there will be a Girl's Party to celebrate the actual day of Hina-matsuri. There will be samplings of traditional Hina-matsuri food and snacks. Go dressed in a yukata and join in the festivities!
* Disclosure: We were invited by Liang Court for the Hina-matsuri Festival. No monetary compensation was received for this event coverage, and all opinions are my own.