May is Asian & Pacific Islander American Heritage Month!
Here is Mika, our lovely Japanese lady in her traditional kimono.
Since 1978, May has been designated as Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month as a time to recognize the contributions and influence of this culture. It was on May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States. And, because it's May, Mika is admiring the beautiful blooms of the dogwood, rather than the more traditional cherry blossom.
When I traveled to Japan as a young girl, I was quite taken with one of their customs known as Hinamatsuri, or Doll's Day or Girls' Day. Celebrated as one of their seasonal festivals (Spring), young girls set up a 'red carpet' on tiered platforms in their home to display their traditional imperial court dolls. The Japanese Emperor and Empress dolls sit at the top, followed by their attendants and musicians on the lower steps. During Hinamatsuri and the preceding days, girls hold parties with their friends, enjoying special food delicacies that are ceremonially beautiful and delicious. What could be more fun?
Why not make your own Japanese doll to celebrate this month and have a party while you're at it? Men's neckties are often made from beautiful silk, so see if you can find an old one that is ready for a new use. The pattern for Mika along with 20 additional International clothespin doll designs can be found in our book, It's a Small World.
We are certainly feeling our connection with our brothers and sisters around the globe these days. Here at Heritage Folk, we hope you are finding time for some heritage crafts yourself. It's a
good time to recall lost arts from simpler times and to share these keepsakes and their stories with loved ones.
Enjoy the last days of Spring!