Hina Matsuri – Unique Doll festival in Japan - Waku Waku

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Hina Matsuri – Unique Doll festival in Japan


Hina Matsuri – Unique Doll festival in Japan

Wishing our children good health and peace

Lê Quỳnh

Lê Quỳnh

Published on 18 Apr 2021, 08:00

Visiting Japan, you can indulge in the cherry blossom festival in spring, the demon festivals in summer, or the light festival Hanatoro in Arashiyama in winter.

Blending with the warm spring atmosphere, Hina Matsuri seems like a brushstroke on the canvas of Japanese unique culture

This is not only a traditional event but also an occasion for parents to pray for their children's peace. Fortunately, I was able to experience the preparation for this festival at the home of an uncle I know, while travelling to Japan last March.

Hina Matsuri – Unique Doll festival in Japan

Hina Matsuri is held all over Japan on the 3rd of March every year

It is known as a special festival to pray for health, good fortune, and blessings for baby girls in the family.

The festival originates in the Heian period since people of that time believed that the dolls would prevent bad things from happening and protect their daughters from suffering sicknesses or having accidents.

Therefore, on the day of the event, Japan's nobility will set the dolls made of paper and wood into the river or sea, hoping that the floating dolls will carry bad luck and problems away.

Then gradually, over time, this ritual had been adapted to suit the culture in modern society and became Japanese Children's Day.

In a bustling festive atmosphere, I was lucky enough to join in the most important activity – setting up Hinadan - a tiered stand where Hina dolls were displayed, the spirit of the festival.

Hina Matsuri – Unique Doll festival in Japan

I was amazed at the exquisiteness and magnificence of the dolls inside the boxes

Different from modern plastic dolls, Hina dolls were made of wood but they were not heavy or bulky. The artisan was very skilful in carving the joints, making the wooden doll still extremely flexible.

Also unlike the popular modern Barbie doll, the Hina doll had a round and kind face with a traditional Japanese makeup style, which exuded an exceptional meticulousness and delicacy of the artisan.

What impressed me more is the elaborate outfit of each doll

From smooth silk fabric, meticulous seams, to each accessory such as coronet or shoes and so on were all modelled after traditional imperial court costumes. Typically, a Hina doll set consisted of at least 15 different characters, including a pair of male and female dolls representing the Emperor and Empress.

Besides, attendants, musicians, ... and other items such as tea sets, flower palanquins, and horse-drawn carriages were also crafted with meticulous carvings. The dolls were small yet gave me the most objective and universal perspective about how Japanese people treasure and preserve their precious traditions!

Hina Matsuri – Unique Doll festival in Japan

In Japanese homes, Hina dolls are extremely sacred objects, which must be displayed in the most beautiful room of the family during the festive season and then carefully stored in the boxes

That's why these dolls are really pricey. To own a set of 15 traditional dolls lined up in a 7-tiered stand with extremely subtle and meticulous design, my uncle had to pay about 1000$. Currently, you can find a two or three-steps-altar display of Hina dolls at a much more affordable price.

Engaging in setting up Hina dan and enjoying my results of the whole morning, I could see how warm this festival was!

The kids were extremely excited and eagerly looking forward to the festival. They giggled with joy and excitement in their beautiful Kimonos during the event. Similar to Western Christmas or Lunar New Year of several Asian countries, everyone gathered to decorate Hina dan, cooked delicious food together, gave their children cute little gifts and good wishes of health and peace.

It was the love and consideration of parents, the crunchy children's laughter, and the full-of-warmth blessings. A simple, silent yet brimful happiness!

Lê Quỳnh

Lê Quỳnh

Là một sinh viên năm cuối muốn truyền tải niềm yêu thích văn hóa Nhật BẢn đến nhiều người hơn


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