Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Girls' Day

Today is Girls' Day in Japan - not that we have much occasion to mark that in our house! However, Lorna thought a cake was in order to celebrate her sole contribution to femininity in the Ferguson household. At Calum's school, the children enjoyed a special strawberry dessert for lunch. At Alistair's kindergarten, they had a 'cherry blossom' jelly for dessert and had the treat of drinking juice rather than the usual cold tea. And he came home with two 'mochi' - rice cakes made of glutinous rice, both of which were filled with sweet red bean paste. Lorna had a pink one covered in a 'cherry blossom' leaf, something which is traditionally eaten on Girls' Day. The day is also known as Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) which has ancient spiritual origins. In the weeks leading up to Girls' Day you can see many displays of traditional (and vey expensive) dolls in the shops. Some question whether Christians should participate in Hina Matsuri. Opinions differ but it is good at the very least to think through the origins of such festivals and customs and then decide how far it is appropriate to fall in with them or come up with alternative ways of marking what is celebrated. A constant challenge here is how to contextualize the gospel, in other words how to strike the right balance between being in the culture and being counter-culture. On Sunday during our service we did not mark the Hina Matsuri but did have a time of prayer and thanksgiving for girls. And today we enjoyed eating the sweet mochi.

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