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Hinamatsuri 

The Doll's Festival, Momo-no-Sekku (Hinamatsuri), takes place on March 3. Hinamatsuri (hina means dolls and matsuri means festival) is a time to pray for the health and well being of young girls. Most homes with young girls will set up a display of hinaningyo (hina dolls). The dolls were originally made from straw and grass but have since become mass produced. Around the display dedications of peach blossoms, cube rice cakes, special colored and diamond shaped rice cakes and white sake are made. This ceremony is similar to a Chinese ceremony in which the sins of the body are transferred to a doll that is then set adrift on a river. The celebration of this festival in Japan is traceable to the Edo Period (1603-1867).

As the festival has grown over the years the dolls have become more elaborate and more expensive. One can guess that people no longer want to set these little treasures to drift on a river. The trend now is to display the dolls on the house and save them for the following years' festivals. The main dolls used in the displays are "Odairi-sama," a prince and "Ohina-sama," a princess.

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