On March 3, 2016 we celebrated the Japanese Doll Festival or Girls’ Day. This is a day to pray for young girl’s growth and happiness. On this day platforms were covered with a red carpet and were used to display a set of ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period.
The teachers of Early Years came dressed in Japanese attire. The children were welcomed in the traditional way. Then they were enlightened about Japan, its culture and tradition. The importance of the day was highlighted by showing them a brief presentation on Hinamatsuri. This was then followed by traditional song in Japanese called “Ureshii Hinamatsuri (Happy Hinamatsuri).” The children were then taken around to show the displayed dolls, traditional cuisine and the flowing dolls.
A brief history of Hinamatsuri
The custom of displaying dolls began during the Heian period. Formerly, people believed the dolls possessed the power to contain bad spirits. Hinamatsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi, in which straw hina dolls are set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles or bad spirits with them. The Shimogamo Shrine celebrates the Nagashibina by floating these dolls between the Takano and Kamo Rivers to pray for the safety of children. People have stopped doing this now because of fishermen catching the dolls in their nets.
Families generally start to display the dolls in February and take them down immediately after the festival. Superstition says that leaving the dolls past March 4 will result in a late marriage for the daughter.