Japan Dolls Festival – March 3, 2022

The Japan Dolls Festival (Hinamatsuri), which takes place on March 3, is also known as Doll’s Day or Girl’s Day. On Hinamatsuri, Japanese families pray for the health, happiness, and prosperity of their young daughters. It is one of Japan’s five seasonal festivities or sekku. Day one of the first month, day three of the third month, day five of the fifth month, and so on, are all sekku celebrations. Hinamatsuri, the third sekku festival, is held every year on March 3.

History of Japan Dolls Festival

Many Japanese holidays and traditions may be dated back thousands of years, and Hinamatsuri is no exception. It was originally called the Peach Festival since it took place while the peach trees were in full bloom. Dolls have always been a big aspect of Hinamatsuri, and they’re still a big deal even now.

This started in the Heian Period (794 to 1185) when people held a similar event to pray for good fortune. People would put straw/paper dolls on rafts and push them down the river, believing that the dolls would drive off evil spirits or calamities. People began displaying these dolls in their homes during the Edo Period (1603 to 1868).

During the 1600s in Japan, when Princess Okiko, daughter of the Emperor Go-Mizuno, decided to play with a doll display created specifically for her, the custom evolved into presenting the dolls on platforms draped with a crimson-colored fabric.

Empress Meisho promoted Hinamatsuri when she ascended to the throne in 1687. Craftsmen all around Japan have been making Hina dolls for the event since then, and the tradition remains today.

Hinamatsuri was abandoned in favor of new holidays that concentrated on the emperor’s imagined connection with the people during the Meiji period when Japan started to modernize and the emperor was reinstated to power, but it was eventually reintroduced. 

It symbolized Japanese goals and values by emphasizing marriage and families, and because the dolls were thought to symbolize the emperor and empress. It also instilled respect and appreciation for the throne. The Japanese diaspora carried the holiday to other countries, but it is still limited to immigrant Japanese groups and their descendants.

Families arrange events at their homes in the period preceding March 3 to show off their displays. Traditional Japanese festivals, on the other hand, are generally large public gatherings with marches, dances, fireworks, street traders, artwork, and other forms of entertainment. Even though Hinamatsuri is generally observed in one’s home with intimate friends and family, there are still traditional events held throughout the country.

Japan Dolls Festival timeline

794 – 1185
Doll-Making Is Introduced

Doll-making is introduced in festivals during the Heian Period.

1603 – 1868
Home Displays Come into Play

Home displays for the dolls are introduced during the Edo Period.

1687
The Holiday Is Named

Hinamatsuri becomes the official name of the celebration after Oki-ko succeeds her father as Empress.

1868 – 1912
Hinamatsuri Makes a Comeback

Hinamatsuri is abandoned during the Meiji period in favor of new festivals and restored afterward.

Japan Dolls Festival FAQs

What happens to dolls after the festival?

The dolls were traditionally intended to be observed the day after Hinamatsuri, with the idea that if they were left any longer, the daughter would marry late. However, some families may keep them on for the whole month of March.

Which Hinamatsuri is the most expensive?

The price of Hina doll displays varies considerably depending on the number of dolls and tiers. The most expensive sets can cost over one million yen, although the most common sets are about 200,000 yen. Seven tiers, 15 dolls, plus a small display of the empress’s dowry furnishings make up the whole display.

What do girls wear on Hinamatsuri?

On this day, girls visit shrines dressed in brightly colored kimonos with a hifu, a cape-like garment worn over the kimono.

Japan Dolls Festival Activities

  1. Visit Japan

    Around 8,000 Hina dolls are on display at the Katsuura City Art and Cultural Exchange Center in Chiba, Japan. It's an excellent choice for people who want to get a firsthand experience of the festival.

  2. Celebrate the females in your family

    Show some love to the females in your family. Celebrate them with gifts and food.

  3. Take a culinary trip to Japan

    Food plays a big role in Hinamatsuri celebrations in Japan. Try a traditional Japanese dish to celebrate the Japan Dolls Festival.

5 Facts About Japan That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Pink!

    Pink is frequently associated with Hinamatsuri because it is a Japanese symbol of femininity and spring.

  2. Wedding bells

    The arrangement of Hina dolls is designed to represent a wedding during the Heian Period.

  3. I put a spell on you

    Keeping the dolls displayed for too long, according to Japanese tradition, will harm a daughter's prospects of marrying.

  4. Special access

    This celebration is typically observed only by families who have daughters.

  5. Video game ties

    Some believe that Princess Peach from the Mario franchise pays homage to the festival via her moniker and mostly pink wardrobe.

Why We Love Japan Dolls Festival

  1. It’s a crucial part of Japanese culture

    Hinamatsuri is a very important holiday in Japanese culture; it is symbolic. Its purpose is to commemorate, celebrate, and inspire young women all over the country.

  2. Good luck and prosperity

    The festival's traditions are intended to ensure that the coming years of the young girls' lives are blessed with good luck and prosperity. We can’t help but love that.

  3. Good eats

    Food is an important part of Hinamatsuri, as it is with every celebration. Japanese people celebrate this cheerful occasion with a variety of delectable dishes and traditional Japanese sweets. Who can say no to a delicious treat?

Japan Dolls Festival dates

YearDateDay
2022March 3Thursday
2023March 3Friday
2024March 3Sunday
2025March 3Monday
2026March 3Tuesday

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