One year ago, on March 1, more than 30 women gathered in my mother’s home for our annual Hinamatsuri luncheon. In Japan Hinamatsuri, also known as Doll’s Festival or Girls’s Day, is celebrated to pray for the health and happiness of our daughters. Here in Canada, my mother and I began a tradition of hosting a luncheon to celebrate women friends.
The centerpiece of Hinamatsuri is a set of Hina Ningyo, decorative dolls, representing the Emperor and Emperess and their court. When I was three years old, my grandmother made me a set of Hina Ningyo when my family visited Japan. Most families do not have a set of these dolls so this is very special.
Listen to the popular Hinamatsuri folk song.
This year we have all learned the importance of staying connected while we are apart. Since we were not able to gather for our luncheon, instead we created and sent special cards. In any given year around 35 of us can gather. Counting all of the cards sent by me, my mother, my son and niece, nearly 100 cards travelled across the country and the world.
While sad not to gather, I am grateful to be reminded that we can find ways to reach out, to connect across distance. Even with all of the cards sent, there are many other people to whom I did not send a card. In the same way we cannot invite everyone for lunch, we could not send out an infinite number of cards. However, it makes me aware of the number of women who have touched my life as friends, teachers, mentors and co-conspirators. And if you did not receive a card from me I hope you will realize that you are also important to me, women and men both. I am so grateful for your presence in my life.
My brother and I in Japan.
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