Hina matsuri   雛祭り

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A collection of doll given during the hina matsuri.

A collection of doll given during the hina matsuri.

The highlight of the day is obviously the moment where the family offers a new doll lucky.

The highlight of the day is obviously the moment where the family offers a new doll lucky.

The mochi hishi, a preparation of sticky rice Diamondbacks enjoyed during the party girls.

The mochi hishi, a preparation of sticky rice Diamondbacks enjoyed during the party girls.

Hina called the dan plateformeet dankake and rougepour tissue present the dolls always in the same order.

Hina called the dan plateformeet dankake and rougepour tissue present the dolls always in the same order.

Girls' Day - March 3rd

Throughout the year, Japan honors its reputation as a country of paradox between religious celebrations, ceremonial and commercial. For visitors, it's good to experience and learn about these festivals to understand Japanese culture and tradition.

Young Japanese girls have the chance to have their own festival twice a year. Their birthday and March 3rd, which is Hina Matsuri, called the Doll Festival or Girls' Festival.  This event falls under an ancient custom of the Heian period (794-1192). The nobility offered the imperial couple figurines in their court. These miniatures are supposed to protect from evil spirits.

A family parade

Today, the festival has become one only for girls to echo the famous boys festival. In every home where there is a girl, this day is just like a birthday. The lucky one dons her finest kimono and from family and friends receives pastries like hishi mochi, a preparation of sticky rice shaped like a diamond. To help eat this compacted sweetness, a glass of sweet sake, shirozake is offered to the girls.

Valuable collection

The highlight of the day is obviously the moment where the family offers a new doll to the young girl. This will be added to the family collection. However, most parents are satisfied with the dolls from previous years or inherited ones. Indeed, such articles are costly and quite bulky. The dolls usually represent the emperor and empress of the traditional court and musicians of the Heian period. There is a very specific order for arrangement of the dolls, which changes depending on the region. Parts include the Hina dan, or platform, and dankake or hi-mosen, the red fabric. Of course, wherever you may be, the dolls of the emperor and his wife must always be at the top of the display. Depending on the resources and the collection, about fifteen dolls will be more or less complete.

Where to visit doll exhibitions?

In Kyoto, go to Shimogamo-Jinja to celebrate Nagashibina. There, ships carrying the dolls are sent between Takano and Kamo river and float celebrating the health of children. To admire this event in Tokyo, please visit Hyakudan Kaidan, a very stylish property closed to the public the rest of the year. On March 3rd only, part of the building opens to visitors, in order to celebrate the "Hyakudan Hina-matsuri". With over seven parts, we discover an impressive collection of dolls from the Edo period. The entrance fee is 1,500 yen. One can also see them around the country from February to March, especially in stations or shopping centers.

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