Happy Girl’s Day Everyone! March 3rd is the date of “Girl’s Day” in Japan (also known as “Hina Matsuri” or Doll Festival and “Momo no Sekku” or Peach Blossom Festival). I thought it was especially appropriate to celebrate the holiday here considering the fact that making dolls compromises a large part of my business! (Edit: One of my dolls, Ichigo, was featured in the Etsy Storque today in an issue about Hina Matsuri!)
On this day families with young daughters celebrate this event at home to ensure their daughter’s future happiness. That is, they decorate hina-Ningyo (special, beautiful dolls which are replicas of an ancient emperor and empress and their subordinates).
The dolls are not the everyday dolls usually played with but are ceremonial dolls, a heritage of the household, handed down, many of them, from generation to generation. They are displayed for a few days in the best room of the house at this festival time, after which they are carefully boxed and put away until the next year. Parents who are able to do so buy new sets of dolls for a girl baby born since the preceding festival, and relatives and friends make gifts of dolls.
Peach blossoms, symbolizing a happy marriage, are indispensable decorations of this festival day. The blossoms signify the feminine traits – of gentility, composure and tranquility.
A set of Hina-dolls usually consists of at least 15 dolls, all in the ancient costumes. The display also includes miniature household articles which often are exquisite artistic productions. The dolls most highly valued are the Dairi-sama, which represent the Emperor and Empress in resplendent court costumes of silk. They are attended by their two ministers, three kanjo (court ladies), and five court musicians. All are displayed on a tier of steps, usually five, from 3 to 6 ft. long and covered with bright red cloth. This stand is specially set up in the home only on this day.
The Imperial couple occupy the top step, the Emperor at the left of the Empress. Court ladies and banquet trays and dishes occupy the second tier; the other dolls are arranged on the lower tiers. (Quoted from Ginkoya.com)
I celebrated my first Hina Matsuri while living in Japan in 2005-06. The dorm parents at my friend’s dormitory (@metal_wings) had a beautiful display of dolls they had collected. I spent a lot of time photographing each one so I could remember them all! We all got together on Girl’s Day to celebrate and it is a memory that I will never forget.
So, whether you are in Japan or any other part of the world, Happy Girl’s Day! Have a cup of shirozake and celebrate!