Girls’ Festival “Hinamatsuri” is just around the corner! (Asakusa Tour report on February 24, 2019)

While fine days and rainy days are coming periodically, spring is approaching.

It was a really warm day, many thanks for joining our tour in Asakusa on February 24.

We met 14 wonderful people from Canada, Germany, India, Italy, UK. and USA.

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It is getting warmer and warmer. Now we can feel the breath of spring. Spring brings beautiful flowers. Peach flower festival, “Momo no sekku” or “Hinamatsuri” is just around the corner.

The other day, I attended a workshop “Let’s make Hina dolls” which was held in Tokyo National Museum.

This museum is my favorite one, included in our tour course which will be held on March 21 in Ueno.

“Hina and Japanese Dolls” exhibition is being shown in this museum until March 17, 2019 (Sun).

https://www.tnm.jp/modules/r_free_page/index.php?id=1952&lang=en

Hinamatsuri, celebrated on March 3 every year, is one of the most beautiful Japanese events, is approaching.

Hinamatsuri is a day on which Japanese households with young daughters decorate their homes with Hina dolls for girls and their families’ bright and happy future.

Much like most Japanese traditional customs, Hinamatsuri is said to have begun as a custom to ward off evil demons and pray for prosperous and healthy future.

In the Tale of Genji, it is said that the third day of the third month is a purification day, on which people were to transfer evil spirits into dolls and release them into rivers and oceans.

Back in those days, people believed that dolls had the ability to contain bad spirits. Households with girls made Hina dolls with straw and sailed them down the river in boats, supposedly taking all the potential misfortunes with them, a practice known as Nagashibina.

In some areas of Japan, people still release paper dolls in water, praying for health and good luck. In Asakusa, Edo Nagashibina event will be held.

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/ev146/index.html

Nowadays, most families with daughters will decorate their homes with Hina dolls. The decorations usually start in mid to late February and are kept until the end of March 3.

Our family had 3 sisters, so there were 3 sets of Hina dolls.

Left one mine, upper right is second sister’s and lower right is the yongest sister’s.

When we were kids, our rooms were occupied with Hina dolls during Hinamatsuri season. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I felt scary because I thought that dolls might begin to move. But now, my sisters’s hina dolls aren’t in my pearent’s house anymore, because they brought their own Hina dolls to their new home when they got married.

Traditionally, parents or grandparents of a newborn girl will buy a set of hina dolls decorations for the baby’s first Hinamatsuri, and a woman brings hina dolls with her when she marries.

So one set of Hina dolls was added for my niece. It’s hers.

The most important thing about Hina dolls is to take the decorations down immediately after Hinamatsuri because it is believed that if people put away Hina dolls too late, the girl will get married late in the future.

Come March 4, put your dolls away in cupboards or send them down the river even if you want to keep them so much.

Happy Hinamatsuri !!

(posted by Yoshiko)

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