Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hinamatsuri - Girl's Day in Japan

  As an English teacher in Japan, I have the opportunity to visit many of my student's homes and learn first-hand about Japanese culture. Today, which is March 3rd, is a holiday in Japan called "Hinamatsuri", or "Girls Day". Hinamatsuri directly translated means "Doll Festival", and so in preparation for this day, about one month in advance, parents set up in their living room a stand with dolls for their daughter. It kind of makes me think of the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree because the stands seem like they need a lot of work to set up, and its presence dominates the focus of the room that it is in.  Some are very glamorous, and some are very simple. While visiting my students' homes to teach them English, the children are all excited to show me their "Hinadan", or "doll stand".  Like christmas trees, the hinadans are various sizes; some have up to 7 shelves with many dolls, and some are very simple with only two dolls.  The dolls represent a wedding ceremony of the royal court with the emperor and empress at the top, and the bride-to-be in the center.  The other dolls represent other members of the royal court, and some hinadans have extra acessories such as miniature peach trees and other little items (like ornaments on a Christmas tree). 

After a holiday, Japanese people seem very prompt about taking decorations down. For example, after Christmas any trees, lights, or decorations vanish the very next day.  When it comes to Hinamatsuri, it is believed that not putting away the doll stand right away will cause one's daughter to get married late. 

I was able to snap a few pics of the doll stands at my students' homes. You can see all of them by visiting this link ---> 

If you would like to learn more about Hinamatsuri, you can visit this link to --->

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