Celebrating Our Daughters: Happy Dolls Festival!!

Happy Dolls Festival

Japan is one the rare nations that has an entire festival dedicated to its daughters. The Doll Festival or as locally known ‘Hina Matsuri’ is a grand event. For those who don’t know this will come as a surprise that the festival actually originated in China.

The tradition says that in Olden China relatives would gift little girls with paper dolls which they would submerge in a nearby stream. With the doll floating away it seems that the misfortune and imperfections of the girls would also be cast away.  No one knows how the ritual changed from there to showcasing expensive dolls representing the emperor and empress. But it did and hence in Japan the ritual of casting away the dolls doesn’t happen. After all who would submerge such pretty and expensive dolls in water?

This festival is celebrated on the 3rd day on the 3rd month that is every March 3rd. in many places it is also known as the ‘Girls Day’ or Girls Festival. Families wish their female members, especially daughters with blessings and fortune. This day is dedicated to pray for young girl’s growth and happiness. Even the newly wedded brides are gifted with dolls by her in-laws to show love and blessing.

Happy Dolls Festival

Girls display these pretty Japanese dolls in their homes on 5 or 7 tier stands with a lot of pride. The 1st tier holds the emperor and empress dolls draped in red also called “Odairi-sama- a prince” and “Ohina-sama- a princess” and the following tiers hold the doll representing their courtesans, musicians, servants, etc. It is said that the girl who will not put away the display immediately after the festival will not have a happy marriage.

In the weeks before Hina Matsuri, it is a vibrant and colorful sight as you will see plenty displays of dolls in stores all over the country.

Several girls don the traditional kimono and host tea and rice cake parties for their friends. Traditional refreshments such as rice cakes and rice wine are savored during the celebrations.  Hina Matsuri dolls made of chocolate are also very popular. At the end of the children’s celebrations with their friends, the entire family gathers for a traditional dinner honoring the girls in the family and prayers for their good health and prosperity.

This festival is an example of how the Japanese culture honors their daughters who are also the better half of the society. One festival that we certainly wish was celebrated in the entire world. So let us try and learn from this culture and wish the daughters and women all over the world with good health, prosperity and strength.  Celebrate doll festival this year by treating your little dolls (girls) with a trip to Khao Kheow Open Zoo and give the best gift of nature. Happy Dolls Festival!! :-)

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