Hina-matsuri: Girls’ Day or Doll’s Day

Hello!  Today is March 3rd, the day the Japanese observe Hina-matsuri, a type of doll festival or girls’ festival.  It is an event where families display ornamental dolls on a red carpet covered platform, sometime before the holiday, and girls would celebrate with a party, enjoying the company of friends, sweets and traditionally drink shirozake, a mildly sweet non-alcoholic rice wine.

Some years back, I visited an art institution when they had a Japanese cultural exhibit.  There were a variety of topics, including demonstrations of furoshiki,ikebana, obi tying and, of course, Hina-matsuri.  While I was there I took a few pictures of the display.  The dolls on top represent the Emperor and Empress, the next being attendants, musicians, etc.

This tradition apparently continues until a girl reaches the age of 10 years.  But while they are in the qualifying years, they get to enjoy this display for a single day, or perhaps for the whole month of March. 

A little detail I find amusing about Girls’ Day, though, is that there is a superstition that the longer the dolls are kept out, past March 3rd, the longer it will take for the girls (daughters) to marry.  So if a family decides to leave the display out, who knows how the girl’s future will be. ^^


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