March 3rd is known as “Hina matsuri=Dolls Festival” or also called“Momo no
sekku=Peach Festival” in Japan.It is the day to celebrate young girls growth and happiness. The roots of the festival go back to ancient China.There is a day, which is called”巳の日=Snake day” and the first Snake day of March in the lunar calendar is called “Joshi”.The purification ceremony was held on “Joshi”day.
People practiced the custom of making ablutions in the river to purify their bodies and the custom was brought to Japan from China and Japanese people developed it into making dolls by using trees and grasses or papers,which were floated down rivers to drive away evil spirits as an effigy for yourself. It is said that the fusion of this custom “Nagashi-bina=Dolls floating” and playing with pretty dolls, which were popular among upper class girls in the Muromachi period(1336~1573), was the origin of the "Hina matsuri=Dolls Festival/Momono sekku=Peach Festival" on March 3rd.
Hina matsuri=Dolls festival became popular among common people in the Edo period(1603~1868) .Families with girls began displaying little Hina dolls,which represent the Emperor(Odairi sama), the Empress(Ohina sama) and their servants, three court ladies(Sannin kanjo) and five musicians(Gonin bayashi) with some beautiful furniture and household goods and peach flowers.This is the time when peach trees blossom in March in the lunar calendar.The peach tree is regarded as a sacred thing to drive evil away in China, so the Hina matsuri=Dolls festival also became called”Momono sekku=Peach festival”.The Hina doll set with noble costumes and accessories normally are placed on a tire of 5 to 7 shelves.But today, families that display the dolls sets with only the Emperor(Odairi sama) and the Empress(Ohina sama) have increased to be suitable for Japanese house size.Either way, watching Hina dolls makes me smile.
But it has a scary old tradition about the Hina matsuri…That is “if girls didn’t
display dolls on the Hina matsuri or if you didn’t put dolls away after March 3rd,you would get married late”. Nyapan really realizes this is not only a superstition…