Japan Australia Pages

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hina Matsuri

March 3rd in Japan is a special day called Hina Matsuri (雛祭). It is also commonly known as Doll’s Festival or Girl’s Festival. On this day, families with girls will display ornamental dolls in the hope of bringing their daughters a successful and happy life.

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

8 comments:

  1. They're incredible! Small works of art.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, they are. More like a work of art than a display :)

      John

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  2. It's today? It's already Doll's Festival? (@_@) I'm clearly still on Africa time. ;)

    I should wander over to Asakusabashi and look at all their beautiful doll shops.

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    1. Thanks Ru, Yep, Today! Easy for me to remember because its my mother in-laws Birthday as well :) Let us know if you find any beautiful dolls over in Asakusabashi. Would love to see the pictures :)

      John

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  3. I really love the dolls that are displayed until today! I've been on several exhibitions. Some of them were in rural areas and completely free. I ran into them by coincidence while visiting something else.

    They even had dolls from the Edo Period.
    It was very interesting!

    Happy Hina Matsuri! ^___^

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    Replies
    1. Thanks ZJ, The Edo period hina ningyo would have been cool to see. Hope you had a great Hina Matsuri :)

      John

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  4. Great post. It's great that you make the effort to explain as well. I usually am lazy and just post a pic. Lol.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Thomas, That is always the time consuming part. I have a separate blog for pics and use this one to give a bit of an explanation. Nothing too detailed but a general overview that is easy to digest :)

      John

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