2. Doll's Festival

March 3rd is a day of celebration for girls.
It is called "Hina-Matsuri", Hina Dolls Festival, or otherwise "Momo no Sekku", Peach Blossom Festival, since this is the time of the year the peach blossoms are in full bloom, and pink is symbolic of this festival.
The festival is to wish for the safety and well being of girls.

Hina dolls

The major decoration for this festival is the "Hina" dolls. This is a group of dolls in court dress that dates back a thousand years, to the Heian era. The average decoration is set up on a shelf in the form of stairs with five steps, and covered with red felt-like cloth. On the top step is a pair of dolls, the Emperor on the left, and the Empress on the right, in their full regalia. The three ladies-in-waiting are placed on the second step, and five musicians (male) on the third. These three groups comprise the basic set of dolls. To this, two ministers, one on the left, the Sa-daijin, and one on the right, the U-daijin, are sometimes added. Required also for the decorations are the various furniture and articles of court life, and the cherry blossom tree on the left, "Sakon no Sakura" and the wild orange tree on the right, "Ukon no Tachibana."

Peach blossoms are also decorated, and various Japanese cakes and confectionaries are also put on the bottom step. These cakes and confectionaries are mostly in pink and white, and sugary. The beverage for the festival is the "ama-zake", a drink made from fermented rice and very sweet. Sometimes, a pinch of ginger is mixed to give it spice.

The hina dolls are often given as gifts from the maternal grandparents on the first Hina-Matsuri after the birth of the baby girl. In the past, gorgeous sets of dolls were prepared as part of the dowry for ladies of high ranks. The origin of these dolls are human figurines to which illnesses and bad luck are transferred, and put on small toy boats or rafts sent adrift on the rivers, so all evil are washed away with the dolls, and not befall on the living girls. This is called "nagashi-bina" or "hina-nagashi", "nagasu" meaning send adrift, and is a custom still observed in some areas of Japan.

There is a boy's day, May 5th, "Tango no Sekku" (no, not Tango as in the dance) which is designated as a national holiday, the Children's Day. Carp streamers, ancient armor, and dolls of warriors are the major decorations for this festival.
Since Little Manuela is closed on holidays, no event to honor this day takes place.

Return to Dolls' Festival
Return to Introduction of MANUELA TIDBITS