Hinamatsuri 雛祭り

My pictures didn't come out that great because my camera was dying and the lighting was something dreadful.

My pictures didn’t come out that great because my camera was dying and the lighting was something dreadful.

Girl’s Day or Doll’s Day is on March 3rd every year in Japan. It’s a Doll Festival that hails from the Heian period. These dolls were thought to possess the power to contain bad spirits. In fact, the origins of Hinamatsuri call back to a tradition called hina-nagashi 雛流し which is translated literally as “doll floating.” This custom had people placing straw dolls into a boat and allowing them to drift out to sea supposedly carrying bad spirits or troubles with them.

No one told me spefically, but I believe this is suppose to be a form of doll floating.

No one told me specifically, but I believe this is suppose to be a form of hina-nagashi.

They told us to rub this paper doll or human where we had pain then place it in the water that ran around the back of the building.

They told us to rub this paper doll or human where we had pain then place it in the water that ran around the back of the building.

I wondered if they burned these after we left...

I wondered if they burned these after we left…

Jenny took some of these photos. Attribute all good photos to Jennifer Simmons.

Attribute all good photos to Jennifer Simmons, like this one.

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These papers were meant to be the basic shape of a human.

These papers were meant to be the basic shape of a human.

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Angela, modelling the placing of the human doll in the water.

Angela, modelling the placing of the human doll in the water.

So, in February, families put the dolls on display and take them down immediately after the festival. There is a superstition that if the doll display is not removed quickly enough, then your daughter won’t get married. *insert dun dun duuuuuh here*

What happened mom? Did you forget to take down our doll collection when I was young? I knew it!

What happened mom? Did you forget to take down our doll collection when I was young? I knew it!

We tried to use that doll on Hayley's pained face, but I'm afraid it stayed that way. Sad turn of events I know.

We tried to use that doll on Hayley’s pained face, but I’m afraid it stayed that way. Sad turn of events I know.

My home girls.

My home girls.

The dolls themselves are based upon a wedding between an Emperor, known as Odairi-sama 御内裏様,  and Empress, or Ohime-sama 御雛様. They have specific places on this seven tiered platform covered in a red carpet. I’ll give you an EASY run down of what each level has. If you want MORE detail, check out wiki!

On the top tier resides the Emperor and Empress, him with a baton and her with a fan.

 

Odairi-sama and his bride Ohime-sama. Photo not by me. Check out this wordpress blog by Chuzai Living for some more beautiful doll photos.

Odairi-sama and his bride Ohime-sama. Photo not by me. Check out this wordpress blog by Chuzai Living for some more beautiful doll photos.

 

The second tier is for sake accessories and the three bearers of the sake, three court ladies san-nin kanjo 三人官女. There is also a table with sweets on it between the woman called  takatsuki 高坏.

Angela and  I freaked out when we saw this doll! We have seen the exact same one in a drama we watched...it was possessed in the drama...creepy.

Angela and I freaked out when we saw this doll! We have seen the exact same one in a drama we watched…it was possessed in the drama…creepy.

Part of the decorations for hinamatsuri are these dangling tiny stuffed animals. They look a little like a child's mobile.

Part of the decorations for hinamatsuri are these dangling tiny stuffed animals. They look a little like a child’s mobile.

One level down, beneath the ladies eh heh, there are five male musicians called gonin bayashi 五人囃子. There are three different types of drummers, a flute player, and a singer.

The next level carries the ministers, an older man and a younger man. They are called daijin. Between them is a bowl and a diamond-shaped stand shishidai 菱台  bearing diamond-shaped rice cakes called hishimochi 菱餅.

It's the year of the snake now.

It’s the year of the snake now.

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These were no taller than three inches.

These were no taller than three inches.

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Just below the ministers, there would be an orange tree and a cherry blossom tree. Between these trees, the fifth tier is given to the three helpers or samurai that protect the Emperor and Empress. Strangely enough they are also called drinkers, the maudlin, cantankerous, and  merry.

The next two tiers are for furniture, tools, carriages, and the lot. The sixth tier is reserved for things use while at the palace and the seventh for those used when away.

These doll collections are normally worked up to. I’ve read a manga or two where every year the girl would get the next doll. Sadly, like many other toys, they are eventually forgotten and kept in the attic somewhere. And that’s what you needed to know about Doll’s Day! ^_^

For the four of us, Hayley, Angela, Jenny, and myself, our Hinamatsuri was spent our local shrine where we enjoyed a koto, dance, and tea ceremony performance. (Koto was the name of that instrument we were looking for on the Giants in Japan podcast #2.) While I was able to get the koto and dance performances on video some, the tea ceremony was too…ceremonial for me to catch it. Apparently there is a TV spot that did a special on it though and all of us were in it.

There's the little girl in the suit I thought was just too cute! The koto performers.

There’s the little girl in the suit I thought was just too cute! The koto performers.

The girls in yukata are the dance performers.

The girls in yukata are the dance performers.

Before you can go up to pray at the honden, the building where the god is actually enshrined, you must cleanse yourself here.

Before you can go up to pray at the honden, the building where the god is actually enshrined, you must cleanse yourself here.

You pick up the dipper and wash the right hand first then the left hand I believe. Then you pour water back into your right hand and swish it in your mouth spitting it out at the rocky basin beneath the stone water container. Lastly, you put both hands on the dipper and pour more water out towards yourself in order to finish the cleansing ritual.

You pick up the dipper and wash the right hand first then the left hand I believe. Then you pour water back into your right hand and swish it in your mouth spitting it out at the rocky basin beneath the stone water container. Lastly, you put both hands on the dipper and pour more water out towards yourself in order to finish the cleansing ritual.

Jenny and Hayley before we passed through the stone tori and out of the spirit world.

Jenny and Hayley before we passed through the stone tori and out of the spirit world.

One of the komainu that guard the shrine entrance.

One of the komainu that guard the shrine entrance.

The lion dog that has its mouth open is masculine and expels bad energy.

The lion dog that has its mouth open is masculine and expels bad energy.

This one with the mouth closed is feminine and keeps good energy int the shrine. (Their women must talk less than ours. lol)

This one with the mouth closed is feminine and keeps good energy in the shrine. (Their women must talk less than ours. lol)

Ange looking cute just before we left.

Ange looking cute just before we left.

My first sight of cherry blossoms

My first sight of cherry blossoms

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I tried for a close up.

I tried for a close up.

Afterward, Angela, Jenny, and I ate sushi and these cute little Hinamatsuri themed cupcakes.

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The little Odairi-sama and Ohime-sama are sugar!

The little Odairi-sama and Ohime-sama are sugar!

Needless to say, we had a lot of fun.

Podcast number #4 should be out by Thursday. Please make sure to check it out too!

6 thoughts on “Hinamatsuri 雛祭り

  1. Thanks for including my photo on your beautiful blog! Arigato~! I still have ohinasama sitting in our living room this year… My parents would flip. You celebrated girls day better than I did with my girls. You took some lovely photos!!

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