hina matsuri

Today was hina matsuri or doll festival, a day dedicated to girls, held annually on the third day of the third month. Its supposed to be a day when a family can wish the girls in the family a happy/successful/good life. The most unique feature of hina matsuri is the platform of dolls that people put on display in their homes. The dolls are supposed to represent Heian courts (Heian period = 794-1185; when The Tale of Genji, The Pillow Book were written), so you have dolls of the Emperor, the Empress, the ministers, the court ladies, musicians etc. They are usually displayed on a tiered platform which is covered with red carpet, with the emperor and empress at the top.
The dolls are inherited by the girls in a family; so Junko inherited her dolls from her mother and since she has no daughters, the next to inherit is her neice. Junko doesn`t have a full court of dolls, just the emperor and emperess and two other people. Still looks good though.
Her neice and nephew (28 yr old twins) came over to have lunch with her in celebration. We had the traditional chirasi zushi, which is basically vegetables and seafood spread over rice served in a huge wooden tub and sakura mochi (sweet rice cakes) for dessert.
The dolls are usually displayed until the morning of the fourth (it is said that if they are left out longer than that, the girls in the family won`t marry for another year!)

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