Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display the set of ornamental dolls called hina-ningyō (雛人形), which represent the Emperor, Empress and other court attendants in traditional court dress of the Heian period (794-1185) in Japan. The dolls are usually displayed on a five or seven tired stand with the Emperor and Empress at the top. The next step contains three court ladies (sannin-kanjo), followed by five musicians (gonin-bayashi), two ministers (udaijin and sadaijin), and three servants ending the bottom row in a five-tiered display.
Diamond shaped rice cakes called “hishi-mochi” are also displayed as an offering to help ensure the healthy growth and happy future of daughters. They are pink, white and green. Pink is for keeping evil spirits away, White for purity and Green is for good health.
Families will generally start to display the dolls in February, usually in their living rooms and take them down immediately after the festival on March 3rd. Don’t be late, as there is a superstition that if you leave the dolls out past March 4, the daughter will get married late.
A tradition on the day of Hina Matsuri is to drink sweet white sake called “shirozake” and eat chirashi zushi.
There are many different hina-ningyō sets here in Japan and they are usually quite expensive. Traditionally grandparents buy a set for a girl for her first Hina Matsuri (hatsu-zekku).
Here is a picture of a Hina Ningyo set we found here in Japan.
|Hina Ningyo set in Japan|