We had a lot of snow last weekend. Spring sometimes gives us chilly air and storms. This time they gave us snow - especially to the area where there are little snow usually, so people became panicked for they were not prepared.
We had snow also here in Osaka. We seldom have snow, so we had to give up driving on the day with the snow and it was a right decision.
We can see ume, plum blossoms starting to bloom now. In the chilly air, ume is impressive, as if they are telling us spring is here, so be patient.
March third is Hina matsuri, girl's festival. Our granddaughter has her first Hina matsuri this March. We sent hina dolls and manju, Japanese sweets with salted cherry blossoms on top. First hinamatsuri is usually celebrated as a special event.
Hina literally means hina ningyo, dolls of Emperor and Empress. It used to be hina dolls were rather simple dolls made of paper or straw in Heian period- the dolls were made to take over bad spirits or bad luck for the girl and the dolls were sent down to the river. The tradtion was called Hina nagashi(doll-floating ceremony) . Later on, royal families started to celebrate girls' birth and display dolls. The tradition spread to upper class families and then to ordinary families. So it was originally more like purification ceremony and later on it became celebration displaying decorative dolls.
This is the wiki page with traditional hinadolls photos:
Always the Emperor(holding a ritual baton) and Empress(holding a fan) sit on top platform..
Usually the mother's family prepare the dolls for the granddaughter but recently this is not always that way. We often hear, mother and father refuse to receive hina dolls because of lack of space. (We hear sometimes grandparents are offended because the father and mother prefer money not dolls!) It is true - people live with nuclear family, and the big hina dolls with platforms may occupy so much space- they may lose the space to sleep!
So it seems `compact size' hinadolls are the trend now.
The traditional platform type hinadolls have marriage furniture, as chest of drawers, long chest for storing kimono, sewing kit box and so on. So to those furniture, the parents's wish for the daughter for good marriage is included. They believed, marriage is the happy goal of the babygirl.
Hina matsuri sweets are popular also:
On May 5th is Children's Day and also they celebrate boys' birth. Dolls day seems to be the celebration for all girls now. Recently, women get together and celebrate each other(having nice lunch together and so on). So the meaning of those celebration seems to be changed through the time. I did not know, hina dolls were originally made for purification.
We wish you a wonderful new week and the nice Girls' Festival day.