Best time to go to Japan

Hina Matsuri 2021

A unique festival that features rituals with dolls

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Traditionally on Woman's Day at Awashima Shrine in Wakayama boats loaded with traditional Japanese dolls are launched into the sea. It is believed that any bad luck the girls might have in future will float away together with the dolls they have donated.

The main symbol of Hinamatsuri is the display of seated male and female dolls on red clothes, which are called the obina and the mebina. This custom refers to a Heian period wedding of the Emperor and the Empress of Japan. Some displays include not only a bride and groom dolls, but also ladies of the court, musicians, and wedding guests. Wealthy families can usually afford larger displays which are called the hinazakari. The minimum set of two main dolls costs about $1,500.

The displays appear a few days before March 3d and are supposed to be put away the day after Hinamatsuri. The display of dolls usually discontinues when the girls get older than 10 years old. During Hinamatsuri girls hold parties serving traditional foods: hina-arare (rice crackers), hishi mochi (rice cakes),and ichigo daifuku (strawberries cakes).

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