Celebrate Girls: Hinamatsuri
Every little girl should have a set of dolls in her bedroom, but probably none like these displayed in our grand lobby.
Around mid-February, families with daughters all over Japan set up elaborately-made dolls in preparation of the Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Festival). A doll set is often handed down from generation to generation or bought for a girl’s first Hinamatsuri. These dolls are on display until the night of the festival, March 3rd, and then carefully put away to make another appearance next year. Superstition says that leaving the dolls out beyond the festival will result in a late marriage for the daughter.
The custom of displaying dolls began during the Heian period, which explains why the ornamental dolls are dressed in traditional court dress of the Heian period. The dolls are always placed on platforms covered with a red carpet. There could be as many as seven levels, but the Emperor and Empress always occupy the top tier – they seat in front of a gilded screen, just as they did in the royal court.
Right below them, you’ll find the servants of the royal family, carefully arranged according to rank. These consist of three court ladies, five male musicians, two ministers, three samurai, etc. The display also includes accessories for the dolls, including a closet, a dresser, and a mirror, among others.
According to an ancient Chinese belief, you can transfer sin and misfortune to a doll. People formerly made straw dolls to be set afloat on a boat and sent to the sea, supposedly taking bad spirits with them. These days, the ritual of displaying dolls is to pray that the young girls of the family will grow up to be just as graceful and blessed as the dolls.
This spring, we hope you’ll join us at Dai-ichi Takimotokan for this beautiful Japanese holiday. Tell your little girl, that her life is to be celebrated.