In short

Hinamatsuri (雛祭り), also called Doll's Day or Girls' Day, is a religious holiday (shinto) in Japan, celebrated on March 3 each year. Red-carpeted platforms are used to display an array of ornamental dolls (雛人形, hina-ningyō) depicting the emperor, empress, attendants and musicians in traditional court attire from the Heian period.


Hinamatsuri, doll day

Hinamatsuri is one of the five seasonal festivals (五節句, gosekku) which take place on auspicious dates in the calendar Chinese : the first day of the first month, the third day of the third month, etc. After the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, these were set at January 1, March 3, May 5, July 7 and September 9. The festival was traditionally known as the Peach Festival (桃の節句, Momo no Sekku), as peach trees usually began to bloom around this time. Although this is no longer true since the transition to Gregorian dates, the name remains and peaches are still symbolic of the holiday.

The main appearance of Hinamatsuri is the display of seated male and female dolls (the obina (male doll) and the mebina (female doll)), which depict a Heian period marriage, but are usually depicted as the emperor and the Empress of Japan. The dolls usually sit on red cloth and can be as simple as pictures or folded paper dolls, or as complex as sculpted three-dimensional dolls. 

More elaborate displays will include a tiered doll stand (雛壇, hinadan) of dolls depicting court ladies, musicians, and other attendants, with all manner of accessories. The complete set of dolls and accessories is called the hinakazari. The number of levels and dolls a family can have depends on their budget.

Families normally make sure girls have a set of the two main dolls before their first Hinamatsuri. Dolls are usually quite expensive and can be passed down from older generations as heirlooms. The hinakazari spends most of the year in storage, and the girls and their mothers begin setting up the exhibit a few days before March 3 (boys do not normally participate, because May 5, now Children's Day was historically called "Boys' Day").

Traditionally, the dolls were supposed to be put away the day after Hinamatsuri, the superstition being that leaving the dolls any longer would result in a late marriage for the girl, but some families may leave them for the entire month of March. Practically speaking, the encouragement to put everything away quickly is to avoid the rainy season and humidity that usually follows Hinamatsuri.

Historically, dolls were used as toys, but they were not intended for display until modern times. The doll exhibition is usually discontinued when the girls reach the age of ten.

During Hinamatsuri and the days before, girls have parties with their friends. Typical foods include hina-arare (multi-colored rice crackers), chirashizushi (raw fish and vegetables over rice in a bowl or bento box), hishi mochi (multi-colored rice cakes), ichigo daifuku ( strawberries wrapped in adzuki bean paste), Sakuramochi and ushiojiru (clam soup, as the clam shells represent a joined pair). The usual drink is shirozake (white sake), also called amazake, a non-alcoholic sake.

Nagashi-bina (floating doll) ceremonies are held throughout the country, where participants make dolls from paper or straw and send them on a boat down a river, taking their impurities and sins with them. Some places, such as at the Nagashibina Doll Museum in Tottori Town, still follow the lunisolar calendar instead of on March 3.

Tsurushi-Bina (hanging dolls), a traditional decoration for Hinamatsuri, are lengths of colored cord (usually red), usually featuring miniature doll decorations, which were originally made from leftover kimono silk ( the idea of reusing fabric scraps is therefore at the center of this craft; it is an excellent activity for using leftover materials). 

Tsurushi-Bina are not limited to presenting miniature dolls, but also flowers (i.e. camellia flowers, etc.), shells, Tamari balls, colored triangles to represent mountains (like Mount Fuji, etc.), etc., and with pompoms at the bottom.

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Today the Japanese celebrate Hinamatsuri, the doll festival. This day is dedicated to young girls. Little girls display precious dolls. These dolls are sometimes passed down from generation to generation. They represent characters from the imperial court of the Heian era. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar 1TP5Q3March #japan #hinamatsuri