This post was inspired by an article on Asahi Shimbun. March 3rd marks an important holiday in Japan to little girls everywhere, including my little girl since her mother’s side is Japanese: Girl’s Day or Hinamatsuri. The word “hina” (雛) means princess or empress, while matsuri (祭り) is a festival. The origin of Hinamatsuri and our doll display at home are covered in another post from last year, so I will not rehash these again. However, I did take a nice picture of a doll-display at the local Japanese import store here in Seattle, Uwajimaya, I wanted to pass along (taken by cell phone camera, apologies for the lack of quality):
Anyway, I wanted to talk about the article, which I thought was a nice piece on what happens to the dolls the rest of the year. Speaking from experience, our little Emperor doll and Empress doll spend most of the year in nicely insulated boxes, and have travelled three continents (Asia, Europe and North America), but their life must be dull in those boxes, so as I read the article I found myself tempted to take them out. I have actually seen someone at work who visited Japan display a basic doll set in their office so the article has hit upon a trend I think.
For my part, I have a big interest in all things relates to the Heian Period and earlier Nara Period, as evinced in my writings on Lady Murasaki’s diary, so these doll sets with their dress and imagery of an ancient Imperial wedding from that bygone era really fascinate me. Last Wednesday night, I put our more humble doll-display at home:1
I admit it’s a labor of love2 I do each year, and I am always a bit loathe to take it back down, but tradition is tradition, and I want to ensure my little girl has a nice, peaceful marriage when she gets older. I’d leave the display out all year, but it’s still nice to enjoy it at least for the upcoming “Peach Festival” better known now as Girl’s Day.
Happy Girl’s Day!
Update: I found a good article here on the Asahi Shinbun relating to a certain tradition in Kyoto for Girl’s Day involving dolls floated down the river called nagashibina (流しびな). I was only dimly aware of this myself.
1 Last year’s photos had some parts missing as we lived in Ireland and some parts had been packed in storage by accident, rather than brought with us. This year, it’s nice to have everything back and in one piece. :)
2 And wracked nerves. Those things are pretty delicate and have lots of tiny, easy to break parts. My clumsy, fat barbarian fingers were not designed for this.