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Hinamatsuri (Doll's Festival)
Part 1: Hina-ningyo
More of this Feature
Hinamatsuri Song

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Hina matsuri

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"Hinamatsuri (Doll's Festival)" is held on March 3rd. This is a day to pray for young girl's growth and happiness. It is also called "Momo no sekku (Peach Festival)" because of the peach blossom season on the old lunar calendar. May 5th is "Kodomo no hi (Children's Day)," and this is so called "Boy's Festival." While Children's Day is a national holiday, Hinamatsuri is not.

Most families with girls display "hina-ningyo" (special dolls for Hinamatsuri, see the photo below) and dedicate peach blossoms to them. They are usually arranged on a five or seven-tiered stand covered with a red carpet. At the top are the Emperor and Empress. The next step contains three court ladies (sannin-kanjo), followed by five musicians (gonin-bayashi), two ministers (udaijin and sadaijin), and three servants ending the bottom row in a five-tiered display. There are also small pieces of furniture, small meal dishes, and other things.

Click here to learn about the origin of Hinamatsuri and Hinamatusri song.

Kozutsumi (小鼓) - Hand drum

Fue (笛) - Flute

Utaikata (謡い方) - A singer
* He has a folding fan (sensu).

Zuishiin (随身) - Two Ministers

Udaijin (右大臣) - The Minister of the Right

Sadaijin (左大臣) - The Minister of the Left
* The left was considered superior in the old Japanese court, therefore an elder man known of his wisdom was often chosen for this position. This is why a sadaijin doll has a long white beard, and looks older than a udaijin doll.

Other Items

Ukon no tachibana (右近の橘) - A mandarin orange tree.
* It was always planted to the right in the old Japanese court.

Sakon no sakura (左近の桜) - A cherry tree.
* It was always planted to the left in the old Japanese court. Since this is a Peach Festival, it is often substituted with a peach tree.

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Ookawa (大鼓)- Large hand drum
* Both ookawa and kotsuzumi play their instruments standing up.

Gonin-bayashi (五人ばやし) - Five Musicians

Taiko (太鼓) - Small drum

Kuwae no choushi (加えの銚子) - Sake holder

Sanpou (三方) - Sake holder
* She sits down while the others stand up.

Sannin-kanjo (三人官女) - Three Court Ladies

Nagae no choushi (長柄の銚子) - Sake holder with long handle

Mebina (めびな) - The Empress

Obina (おびな)- The Emperor

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