Monthly Feature Story-March 2018
Cultural Tips – Doll Festival (Hina-matsuri)
March 3rd is known as a doll festival (hina-matsuri). It is a traditional custom where a set of special dolls dressed like medieval court nobles are displayed. They are usually set up on a stepped platform covered with a red carpet. The doll festival has been the occasion to ward off misfortune and pray for young girls’ healthy growth and happiness.
The doll festival is said to have begun in the Heian Period, which started in 794 and ended in 1185. It was a time when people believed that dolls had the power to drive away evil spirits.
The custom of displaying the dolls in households with young girls started during the Edo Period (1603–1867).
Now it is also common for young girls to celebrate the doll festival by holding parties, enjoying such treats as multi-colored rice cracker coated with sugar, and sushi rice topped with colorful ingredients.
Who buys them and when?
A girl’s maternal grandparents usually buy them for their granddaughter after she is born.
In January and February these dolls are splendidly displayed for sale in department stores and shops for dolls.
Gifts and Souvenirs, “SAIZENDO”
The shop is located just 3 minutes from the U.S. Naval Base Yokosuka. SAIZENDO sells several kinds of dolls including “Kitty-chan”, “Monchici”, which can be suitable for a gift.
Link: For more details, click here.
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