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Dolls

 

Hina Matsuri Doll Festival 雛祭り

Girls´ Day is celebrated March 3rd in Japan. On this day, parents wish their daughters’ happiness, growth, and good health. A set of ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period, are displayed on platforms covered with a red carpet.

Even families without daughters might display dolls. In families with only sons (or no children at all), these are often the mother´s own Hina Dolls brought from her parents´ home. Then there are those without family who simply like to decorate their apartments with Hina Doll motifs just to get into the spirit of the season.

    

Families generally start to display the dolls in February and take them down immediately after the festival. An old belief says that leaving the dolls past March 4rd will result in a late marriage for the daughter. These days there are also many families which do not follow the custom of promptly putting the dolls away.

In an ancient Japanese custom called Nagashi-bina (floating doll), the sin of the body and misfortune are transferred to a doll. Then the doll is set afloat on a straw boat and sent down a river to the sea. The third day of the third month was a day of purification in the Shinto religion from ancient times. The use of dolls in the purification rites is mentioned in the Tale of Genji, written nearly a thousand years ago. The tradition of displaying hina dolls did not begin till the Edo period, in the 17th Century.