March 3rd is Girl’s Day also known as Hinamatsuri or even Momo no Sekku (Peach Day). Some may wonder why peaches are part of this tradition. A little interesting history of this event is that before the 19th century Japan followed the Lunar calendar, which during this religious event peach blossoms were in bloom, around early April. Today Japan follows the Gregorian calendar, so peaches are no longer in bloom during the Hinamatsuri festival, but are still symbolic of the festival. Momo no Sekku during the latter half of the Edo period had evolved into the festival we know today. A day to celebrate and wish for happiness and health for the young women in their families.
Hinamatsuri is an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi. It was once believed that dolls possessed the power to contain evil sprits. During the hina-nagashi, dolls where made with straws and are set afloat down a river to the sea, taking with it troubles or bad spirits. The origins can be traced back to China.
The custom of displaying beautiful dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, and attendants, in traditional court dress began during the Heian period (794-1185). Today, families with young girls start displaying their dolls in February, to celebrate the well-being and happiness for them in the future. They arrange these traditional dolls in Heian court attire on a five or seven-tiered platform covered with red carpet. These dolls are immediately put away after the festival, a superstition says that if the dolls are on display past March 4, your daughter will marry late in life.
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