Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3 Brings Japanese Girls' Day of Happiness, Health through Hina

Each year on March 3 is Japanese Girls' Day celebrated in Asian communities around the world.  Families celebrate their girls by displaying Hina dolls and props throughout the house, in a tradition that wishes girls healthy growth and happiness.  Home festivities begin during the last week of February, when girls invite their friends over for special celebration, Hina Matsuri, however must be taken down by March 3, otherwise bad luck for the girls who as the legend goes will not find suitable husbands in the future.

Thought of as a proud family heritage, these dolls are often inherited from generation to generation.   However, at times proud parents and grandparents will purchase a new set of the gorgeous Hina dolls to celebrate the birth of their newborn daughter.

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The Hina dolls are beautifully-detailed, dressed in ancient Japanese costumes, with brocaded silk kimonos, fans, and musical instruments. Each are displayed prominently, along with appropriate flower blossoms and rice cakes, on red carpet-covered shelving in the family's house. The setup portrays the Japanese Royal Court in seven tiers, with the Emperor and Empress sitting at the top surrounded by guardians, musicians and servants.  

Celebration Hina Matsuri evolved from ancient Shinto purification ceremonies. Originally by using origami dolls, it was believed that girls could rid themselves of impurities by breathing upon the paper dolls, rubbing the dolls against them, then casting away the dolls, and thus their sins, into a river.

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Hina Matsuri is also called Momo No Sekku, which means a festival of peach blossoms. Peach blossoms, accompanied with shiro-zake (white rice wine) and hishi-mochi (diamond shaped rice cakes) are placed on the Hina doll stand along with Japanese Royal Court set. Hishi-mochi are colored in pink (implies peach flowers), white (implies snow), and green (implies new growth).

ONCEKids Publishing congratulates the girls and their families  during this proud celebration.

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