Japan celebrates girls on Doll’s Day
How about some fun holidays from around the world to join in? Here is a Japanese tradition you might want to bring to your family: Do you like dolls or know someone who does? Well on March 3rd every year, Japanese families display special dolls to celebrate Doll’s Day!
Hinamatsuri is also called Girls’ Day and if you were to visit Japan at this time — you’d see pink everywhere! But the dolls used in the festival are not just any old dolls; they are hina dolls which look like an ancient Emperor and Empress and their royal court!
Doll’s Day began as a way to protect girls from bad spirits and to thank women in the family for their hard work. Families pray for the happiness and growth of their girls and paper dolls are sent out into rivers on tiny, round straw boats to ward off sickness and bad luck.
So what happens during the holiday?
Come February, families put up a seven-stepped platform (some are smaller) and place a royal looking, red cloth over the top with springtime peach blossoms to decorate! On the highest step, the Emperor and Empress dolls sit with a little, golden screen. Three ladies-in-waiting perch below and five musician men sit beneath them. On the fourth level, two ministers sit beside food trays and on the fifth step, three proud Samurai warriors stand guard beside orange and cherry trees. The sixth row is for the palace furniture, such as tiny wooden trunks to store the Empress’ silk kimonos and the bottom step is for things the palace needs for a trip, such as their oxen-pulled carriage.
Food is both offered to the dolls and enjoyed by families, such as tiny, colored rice crackers, sushi, clam soup and diamond-shaped rice cakes. But as soon as the festival’s over, the dolls are quickly packed away; else parents might find it tricky to marry-off their daughters!
Learn more about this special day!
If there’s a Japanese district near you, why not pay a visit to see which shops have their hina dolls displayed? Traditionally in Japan, girls asked their friends round to their home on this day — perhaps you could set up your own doll display and share some yummy foods with your friends to celebrate girls everywhere!
By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)