Friday, February 22, 2008

Hina Matsuri (Dolls Festival)

I have looked up every festival that i could possibly attend while here in Japan. I have two reasons for this. I enjoy going to them and learning about Japanese culture. And the other reason is so that i can show my Aussie students' the photos etc in their Japanese class. This weekend i am going to a giant park near my house for plum and peach blossom viewing festival.
I was asking about the Dolls Festvial (3rd of March) at school yesterday. I wanted to know if there were any public places of celebration. But it is celebrated at home and i was disappointed about this. So one of the English teachers, Mori sensei went home and made two origami dolls and put them up at my desk for me to celebrate. Such kindness. I was really stoked. This is the same teacher who wrote me a cheat sheet on Japanese adjectives last week. Often to westerners the polite and formal nature of the Japanese can seem insincere or fake (this comes from some of the books i have been reading on Japanese culture). But i think that the Japanese people i have met are lovely and very kind. Mori Sensei is a good example of this.

So what is the Dolls Festival???

People display dolls during this time. The day is also called Girl's Day. Based on the idea that girls like to play with dolls. Hina means girl or princess.

First platform has the dolls representing the emporer and empress and are put in front of a gold screen.

Second platform has the court ladies holding sake fillers.

Third platform has musician dolls holding an instrument. The singer holds a fan.

Fourth platform may have two ministers - a right (shown as a young person) and a left (shown as an older person) Right doll is on the left as you look at them.

Other platforms have tools and miniature funiture on them.

These are the Hina Matsuri things that Mori Sensei gave me. The little rice things are flavoured according to their colour. So green is green tea. And the Koalas have chocolate inside them. Normally they just look like a Koala. I was overwhelmed by her kindness.

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