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Today is one of the most exciting days for girls in Japan. Every year, on March 3rd, people in Japan celebrate a day called ” Hinamatsuri (雛祭り、ひなまつり). It’s the day just for girls to cherish them and wish them for a long lasting healthy years ahead. Hinamatsuri is also called “Dolls Festival” since one of the main events of the special day is to display traditional Japanese dolls, called Hinaningyo (雛人形。ひなにんぎょう). You might have seen the multiple tiered dolls like the one below. (Official one has 7 tiers.)
Originally, hinamatsuri (雛祭り、ひなまつり) started off as Hina Nagashi (雛流し、ひなながし) during Heiwan period, in Japan, where you release dolls into the river. It was believed that the dolls would carry all the bad luck from girls and by releasing them in the river, it was the way of removing bad (unwanted) luck. Since the purpose of dolls were just to be released in the river at that time, they were made of simple materials, such as straws and papers.
Later after this, dolls started to change, from being made of straws and paper, to something more decorative and elegant, so people started to display them. Around this time, also the special day started to include not only young girls, but also baby girls. Once a baby girl is born in a family, they made sure to display the Hina dolls for this special day. As you can see, March 3rd was originally started as “Doll’s Festival”, where the main purpose was to remove bad luck from girls, but it turned into a “Girl’s Festival” where they will take the day to cherish their young daughters/babies for their long lasting health and happiness by displaying the decorative dolls.
Today, you will start to see dolls being displayed around the beginning of February, and most of them being quickly put away in storage after March 3rd. This is because it is believed that once you leave the dolls out too long past March 3rd, your daughter will be getting married much later in her life.
Let me end today’s post with the following Hinamatsuri song. This is a traditional song that all girls in Japan knows.
Enjoy your Hinamatsuri!