Hina Matsuri : The Festival of Dolls
On March 3 in Japan was held the Hina Matsuri, the Doll Festival.
On this day, as every year, families with young daughters, show a very special series of dolls (called Hina-ningyo), praying that their daughters will be healthy and happy.
The set of dolls Hina Matsuri, can be seen from the middle of February, but according to tradition, if the set of dolls are not shown by the end of the festival, the girls are getting married later .
Hina Matsuri dolls are an exquisite work of art and, of course, they are very expensive.
They are often passed down from generation to generation, but there is also the habit of buying new, particularly during the first celebration of Hina Matsuri.
A complete set of Hina Matsuri includes many dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, two ministers, three court ladies, three samurai and some musicians, as well as a large number of objects in miniature of the Imperial Palace (furniture, crockery , utensils, orange and cherry) : all set on special stands at five or seven levels.
One set will include only the simplest Emperor (Odairi-sama) and Empress (Alas-sama), sitting in front of a folding screen.
The dolls are dressed in costumes of the Heian period : the costume is called the Empress-Juuni hitoe (which means “robe of twelve layers,” in fact being made from 12 pieces of silk garments) and the best dressed doll perfect replicas of this royal robe.
This kind of ceremonial dress is still used at the imperial court in very special occasions (like weddings or during the ceremony of coronation).
Travel tip :
if you want to see Hina Matsuri dolls, go to visit the shops that are located right next to JR Ueno Station in Tokyo. These stores have hundreds of sets of dolls with different styles, sizes and prices, some of which reach the value of 1 million yen!