03 March 2011

雛祭り Hina Matsuri

illustration by cybele
In Japan, today is Hina Matsuri, or as I knew it growing up, Girl's Day.  As a little girl living in Japan, I have vivid memories of my mother setting up the dolls, getting dressed in my seafoam green kimono and, my favorite part, the pink/red hair ornament. I think the holiday has evolved since I was able to experience it.  They now have children's day in May, celebrating boys and girls together.

illustration by cybele
Here are the basics about Hina Matsuri:
In Japan, the 3rd day of March is celebrated by displaying Ohina-sama dolls. It is believed that these dolls take the place of little girls when illness and injury come. They are the girls’ protectors. Care is taken that the Ohina-sama dolls do not become sick or hurt either, so they are reverently handled.  At a minimum, a set of hina-ningyo (dolls) will include an emperor and empress, but can have many more complementary dolls that form a court for the royal couple.  (My mother had the whole set!) The dolls are dressed in traditional Heian period costume (794-1185 A.D.).   Read more about Hina Matsuri here.

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