2013年03月03日

Hinamatsuri, the big ceremony of Joshi-Kai

The Japanese Girls' Day(雛祭り, Hina-matsuri) is held on March 3.

Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display a set of ornamental dolls (雛人形, hina-ningyō) representing a couple of princess and prince in traditional court dress of the Heian period with their survants and maids.
http://www.hinaningyou.jp/know03.html

The Kantō region and Kansai region have different placement orders of the dolls from left to right, but the order of dolls per level are the same.The term for the platform in Japanese is hina dan (雛壇). The layer of covering is called dankake (段掛) or simply hi-mōsen (緋毛氈), a red carpet with rainbow stripes at the bottom.

The custom of displaying dolls began during the Heian period. Formerly, people believed the dolls possessed the power to contain bad spirits. Hinamatsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi (雛流し, lit. "doll floating"), in which straw hina dolls are set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles or bad spirits with them.

Chirashizushi (sushi rice flavored with sugar, vinegar, topped with raw fish and a variety of ingredients) is often eaten. A salt-based soup called ushiojiru containing clams still in the shell is also served. Clam shells in food are deemed the symbol of a united and peaceful couple, because a pair of clam shells fits perfectly, and no pair but the original pair can do so.The festival drink is shirozake, made from fermented rice. A colored hina-arare, bite-sized crackers flavored with sugar or soy sauce depending on the region, and hishimochi, a diamond-shaped colored rice cake, are served.

Families generally start to display the dolls in February and take them down ly after the festival. It was uised to say that leaving the dolls past March 4 will result in a late marriage for the daughter. But,some communities uses the lunar calender will leave them in the middle of April.

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Souce: Wikipedia
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