For the last several weeks, a beautiful collection of ornamental dolls has been on display in the Asama Commons (ISAK cafeteria). The dolls, which represent the Emperor, Empress, attendants and court musicians of the Japanese Heian period, are an important part of the Japanese holiday called Hinamatsuri (雛祭り), also known as Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day.
This uniquely Japanese holiday originated nearly 1,000 years ago, and is still celebrated every year on March 3rd. Beginning in mid-February, families with girls bring out their hina dolls and display them on tiered shelves covered with a bold red cloth or carpet. Many of these dolls are family heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next.
The dolls are considered caretakers of girls and help to bring them health, happiness and good luck. On March 3rd, families celebrate Girls’ Day with special rice cakes and sweet sake. The holiday is an opportunity to pray for the happiness and well-being of Japanese daughters everywhere.
While there is no specific date for when a family can set up the dolls, tradition holds that the dolls should be put away on March 4th so as not to delay a girl’s marriage.
Today we wish happiness, health and success to all girls!