The overall idea of Hina-matsuri is to wish girls a healthy growth. In a family where a baby girl is born, parents give a set of dolls called “Hina-Ningyo” to the baby at her first Hina-matsuri hoping that she will grow happy, healthy and beautiful. Every year they keep decorating the dolls on the day of Hina-matsuri and hold a party to celebrate the child’s growth with some cake or tiny rice cakes.
Ping magazine has a great article all about Hina-matsuri that explains the dolls - including how they're supposed to be arranged and what they're supposed to wear and hold - as well as the foods (mostly pink, white and green!) that are part of the celebration. It's intertesting to see the mix of the traditional customs with modern consumer culture - even Hello Kitty has Hina-matsuri-themed snack products. Then again, who's more girly than Hello Kitty?
Read the whole story on Ping.