Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Doll Festival

Though we are in coldest time of the year now, there’s a sign of spring in the air. Followed by the Japanese apricot blossoms, peach blossoms are to be in full bloom before long. Around that time, Hina-matsuri or Doll Festival is celebrated on March 3rd, hoping for the well-being of girls.

People begin to display Hina-dolls about half a month before that. It traces its origin to Nagashi-bina, literally means floating dolls, in a Heian Period (794-1192); In those days, combining children’s play with little dolls made of paper or clay  in the court  with the seasonal event of purification from Chinese origin, people used to float dolls down the river, believing it would take away evil spirits with them.

In Edo Period(1600-1867), the festival spread among ordinary people and they began to display the dolls of attendants, musicians, some others in traditional court dress of Heian Period, adding to the original emperor and empress on five or seven tiered stands, together with marital package. It became more elaborate and sophisticate.

These dolls came in to my house at the first festival of my daughter's in the year she was born. As my two daughters grew up, I neglected displaying the dolls. However, a few years ago, I took the trouble to take out dolls for the first time in years for some reason. I was relieved to find the dolls remained intact and undamaged despite a few moves before getting settled here. I felt sorry I had left them in the closet for a long time.

Well, time passed and there seems to be a growing tendency among young people, not always “young” actually, not to want to tie the knot as early as they used to. My elder daughter is of an age or well past the age, I'm afraid, where they should ‘ve been married and have started a family. She is a working woman and living alone in Tokyo.

Once she said she knew how I felt and how I was worried about her, but she asked me to leave her alone saying she knew what she was doing. I’d say she is well-organized, considerate, reliable woman and I am proud of her. I sincerely hope she will meet the right partner and get round to getting her family.

This year I displayed the dolls again praying that the happy aura of the emperor and the empress will rub off on her. As a mighty cupid, I hope they will help her find the right partner as soon as possible. I think I can hear, “Don’t worry, count on us”

                         wooden Hina Dolls by carving with a single knife


  1. Beautiful traditional dolls and mother's wish....

    They say that young people who are not interested in marriage are increasing. I have no daughter, and two of my three sons are not yet married, correctly one is not remarried. Parents can little about them,
    and I understand your wish as a mother, while I think that not only marriage brings them happiness.

    By the way, the curved wooden dolls are beautiful, too!

  2. Thank you for sharing your traditional gorgeous Hina dolls, and honest writing. Since we have only sons, we have not had chances to display Hina dolls in our house. However, thanks to our younger son’s daughter; our grand daughter; my husband and I had a chance to give her Hina dolls at the first festival of her, which is a very simple, modern and small one made by an artisan in Kyoto. Our younger son’s family, who lives in Tokyo, does not have enough large space to display traditional Hina dolls in their house. I am hoping that our granddaughter is going to like the hina dolls even it is small one, and for her happiness. Our older son is single. Though I am looking forward to his meeting a right partner・・・・Have a nice weekend, Cosmos.

  3. Beautiful and gorgeous hina dolls! Actually I was planning to post about doll’s festival, and you beat me to it. I haven’t displayed our hina dolls yet unusually this year due to my mother’s surgery though I’ve displayed dolls for 30 years without interruption.

    We are celebrating the first Girls’ Festival of my granddaughter. As a grandmother on her father's side, I spent lots of time to buy a small, lovely doll dressed in kimono, not 市松人形, but 手毬の童. I’ve felt how happy to look for and buy a doll which just looks like her. I really wish her healthy growth. I wish your dream come true, too.

    BTW, your blog design color changes from post to post. This color is suitable for 桃の節句Peach Festival.

  4. Thank you, haricot
    “I understand your wish as a mother, while I think that not only marriage brings them happiness”. I know what you mean.
    I’m trying not to worry about something I can’t do for myself. All I could do is to wish that everything goes in the direction that is best for someone. I’m praying Hina Dolls or whatever for a happy life of my daughters.

  5. Redrose and Stardust, you are happy grandmothers.
    It must've taken a lot of time and trouble to choose hina dolls for your little angels. Whatever they may be,they will watch them grow with loves of people around and be passed on to next generation.

    I'm looking forward to your posts of hina dolls. Thank you for the comments as always.

  6. I can feel your worry very much. Because our elder daughter is single yet. So I am looking forward to her meeting a right pertner.
    I have decolated Hina doll in ozashiki in recent years. But I decorated only "Odairisama and Ohinasama"on my piano in the living room this year.
    I will post about Ohinasama a little,too.

  7. Sarah, so we seem to be in the same boat. I believe in my daughter and support the way she does (of course you do too), I want her to have someone to live with and if possible to be a mother of children to raise herself and enrich her life.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing hina doll of yours.

  8. Our cultures are so different, and I always enjoy reading of Japan's ancient customs and festivals. My own granddaughters would love the Hina dolls! They are so elaborate, I've enjoyed examining your photos.

  9. Thank you, Barb, for visiting this ungrown blog.
    I just started using digital camera, and still have trouble using pc, but doing something new like blogging is exciting. In addition to seeing other world, it makes me look at things I have been familiar with more carefully and differently.

    I am looking forward to visiting your wonderful world.

  10. After reading your blog, I searched for my Hina dolls' belongings, such as drawers, a sowing set, a pair of lanterns and so on. More than ten years ago my Hina dolls were borught to 宝鏡寺 to have memorial service, because accidentaly the face of the empress got a scar. Now they are under the Memorial Stone of the temple. I am going to write Hina dolls story in different way if I can find out their belongings.

    My mother used to worry about me like you. I think most important thing about childeren is to trust them 100% and be on their side when they have troules.

  11. Sorry

    troules → troubles

    m(_ _)m

  12. Thank you, snowwhite, for your strong message.
    "To trust children 100%". I think I trust her but maybe it's not 100%. That's because she is my daughter, that means I am not confident in myself. I am always swaying, vacillating.

    Thank you, snowwhite, now I think I can get something off my mind. I will trust her 100%, still praying hina dolls for my daughters' happiness.

  13. 訪問ありがとうございました。






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