One for the Gals

There are loads of holidays in Japan that celebrate everything from the Emperor to sports to the ocean! There’s a day for the oldies, called keiro no hi; a day for the lads, called Kodomo no hi; and a day for the gals, called Hinamatsuri. Strangely, there’s no “parents’ day” and mothers’ day and fathers’ day are not really recognized.

If you hadn’t guessed already, it just so happens that today is Girls’ Day (also known as Doll’s Day)! **Cue music: Beyoncé “Who run the world? Girls!”** Every year on March 3, girls are given a special day to thank them for being the most amazing, wonderful creatures! (just kidding). No, the day is actually to pray for the growth and well-being of young girls. The main feature of the celebration is a doll display. There are lots of different sizes of displays, but all have the Emperor and Empress on the top tier. Below them, you can see the court ladies, musicians, ministers, lots of sake and sweets, and at the very bottom is furniture belonging to the royal family. When a girl is born in Japan, it is tradition for the grandparents to give the family a doll display, which will be put up in their home every year. It gets set up some time in February, and MUST be taken down on March 3 otherwise it is bad luck, and consequently the daughters will get married late!

It’s a very sweet tradition, and over the years has become more and more commercialized. These days you can even see bakeries with hinamatsuri cakes. They are so delicious! The hina dolls have been reproduced through Hello Kitty, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and many other popular characters, too!

Here are some photos I’ve taken in the past few years, at friends’ houses and at public venues.

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