Hina Matsuri

Festivals are the core part of every countries culture. In Japan also there are many festivals celebrated throughout the year. Hina Matsuri is one of them. Let's read this article for more information about Hina matsuri.

Every year, on the 3rd March the doll festival is celebrated for female children and pray for their continued health, and happiness is called as Hina matsuri. Also known as momo no sekku (peach festival) during the holiday, families display ceramic dolls dressed in the ornate, decorative robes of the ancient imperial court. It is one of five sekku or seasonal festivals, celebrated through the year.

On the first day of the year's first month, the third day of the third month, and so on they fell, dates considered to be highly auspicious owing to the doubling of odd numbers for the month and date. The March sekku took on aspects of a broader tradition involving the making of simple paper dolls called hitogata over time. For children of aristocratic families as well as serving as katashiro these dolls were common toys or emblems used in purification rituals. Gradually the Hinamatsuri became a time to give thanks for the health and development of young girls, thanks to the influence of a traditional form of doll play called Hina-Asobi. In Japan, It is a traditional custom to display ceremonial dolls on tiers of shelves covered with scarlet carpet. About the Hina dolls, there is a superstition, that is, if a girl does not put away the dolls quickly after the Hina Festival, then she will not get married for a long time.

Japanese began the tradition of displaying the dolls in their homes during the Edo Period. Usually, the dolls are put out around mid-February and returned immediately after Hina Matsuri finishes. Japanese families have continued the tradition of displaying these dolls to this day. Often grandparents will give a set of the Hina dolls to a girl as soon as she is born. Besides the doll display, White rice wine called 'shirozake' and peach blossoms is also placed, along with 'hishi mochi,' a kind of three-layered rice cake. For the emperor and the empress, the top tier is reserved and a miniature gilded folding screen is placed behind them, just like the real Imperial throne of the ancient court. There are three ladies-in-waiting on the second tier, and on the third are five male court musicians.

On either side of trays of food on the fourth step Ministers sit, and the fifth row features guards flanked by an orange tree to the left and a cherry tree to the right. As a way of warding off evil spirits, with the dolls acting as a charm it started. People in some parts of the country even today, release paper dolls into rivers after the festival, praying that the dolls take people's place in carrying away sickness and bad fortune.