Doll Festivals

Does your family have special dolls that decorate the shelves or mantel? In Japan, people display special sets of dolls every year on March 3 and May 5. These are doll festival days. The one on March 3 is the Girls’ Festival, and the one on May 5 is the Boys’ Festival.

During these celebrations, families display dolls that have been handed down for generations. Through the dolls, the children learn about their country’s culture, history, and outstanding men and women.

This festival had its origin about 1,000 years ago in the Heian Period (794-1192). It is a traditional custom to display ceremonial dolls on tiers of shelves covered with scarlet carpet. These dolls are dressed in the fashion of the people of the ancient court. The Emperor and Empress are placed on the upper-most tier, followed by the ladies in waiting and ministers.

Starting weeks before the festival, families display the dolls on a tiered stand called a hinadan that is covered with red cloth.

The stand may have 5 or 7 tiers, with the the top tier reserved for the Emperor and Empress, followed by guardians, musicians, and servants.

The display also includes small meal dishes, small furniture pieces like chests and stands, and fresh peach blossoms.

There is a superstition about hina dolls. If a girl does not put away the dolls quickly after the Hina Festival, then she will not get married for a long time.

Picture Credit : Google