Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hina Matsuri

Happy Hina Matsuri!
Hina = dolls representing courtiers
Ningyou = dolls
Matsuri = festival
On the 3rd day of March, Japanese families celebrate their pride in their daughters by displaying dolls of the Emperor and Empress in a prominent place in the home. Some doll sets also include all of the Imperial court attendants, musicians, and possessions. The dolls are not to be played with. I think this is akin to the Christian tradition of setting up a Nativity scene at Christmas. The "hinaningyou" are usually gifts from the grandparents or inherited from the girl's mother, and are quite delicate and expensive! They are unwrapped in a ceremony, admired for a few weeks and then put back in their boxes. According to one superstition, if the dolls aren't returned to their boxes soon after the 3rd, the daughters will not get married. (How is it I'm still not married? I didn't even HAVE dolls to put away late... I think I just played with trucks!)

By the way, I'm officially moving my birthday to 3/3...maybe that will be an easier date to remember - "tres-tres" (wink, wink CHRIS), it gives people an extra day to prepare (more winking, DAD), and I like the idea of my birthday coinciding with a national holiday that celebrates daughters. Don't worry, boys, there's one for you in May - but you get fish and samurai helmets instead of dolls.

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