Japanese Girl’s Day, or as
it is known in Japan, Hina Festival, is celebrated with Hina
dolls on March 3. Girl’s Day preserves Japanese tradition
and is a significant festival that encourages unamarried girls
to pray for growth and happiness. Hina dolls are Japanese cultural
legacy and most homes with girls display them.
Girl’s Day is also a seasonal celebration of the peach
blossom festival. It is one of the five seasonal Japanese festivals,
including Boy’s Day and the Star Festival. A peach blossom
is a seasonal flower, and originally people believed that a
peach blossom was a talisman that would protect them from disease.
The Hina doll tradition originated
during the Heian period (794-1185) and the styles of the dolls
changed during the Edo period (1603-1867). A full Hina doll
display is a five or seven step arrangement, about 75 inches
tall covered by a red carpet. The emperor and empress dolls
are on the top step, three court ladies are on the second step,
five musicians are on the third step, guardsmen are on the
fourth step, and miniatures of tableware are on the two lowest
steps. All the dolls wear ancient-style costumes. Some of the
steps include Hichimochi, which is a pink, white, and green
diamond-shaped rice cake.
Girl’s Day is also celebrated with special food and drinks:
Hina Arare, which are small rice biscuits, Sakura mochi, which
is cherry blossom flavor of mochi with Azuki beans, and Shirozake,
which is white sake.
Traditionally, the full Hina doll set is popular and some
families use the same Hina doll set from generation to
days, because the full set is so expensive, some families display
only three steps of Hina dolls or the emperor and empress dolls