In midsummer, many step out in yukata, or summer kimono, and gather in parks which are colorfully decorated with lanterns – to eat, drink and perform traditional dances to the beat of Japanese folk music.
The Hina Matsuri, or Doll Festival, is primarily a custom for families with girls. Growing up in a family with all boys, we never had the opportunity to decorate with hina dolls at home on March 3, although I remember my mom always wished we could.
For those of you venturing out in town on Feb. 2, be sure to watch out for flying beans and fleeing ogres. The Japanese celebrate Setsubun, which literally means “change of seasons,” on this day to kick off the preparation for the upcoming planting season.