Hinamatsuri, or the “Doll Festival,” takes place in Japan on March 3rd each year. The festival is a time for families to honor their daughters and pray for their happiness and well-being.

The origin of Hinamatsuri can be traced back to the Heian period (794-1185) when dolls were made and displayed to protect against evil spirits. The dolls were believed to have the power to transfer bad luck and misfortune away from the family and onto the dolls themselves.

Today, Hinamatsuri is celebrated by displaying dolls called “hinakazari” in homes and public spaces. The dolls are typically dressed in traditional clothing from the Heian period and are arranged on a multi-tiered platform covered in red cloth. Usually other items, such as miniature furniture, accessories, and decorations are also displayed.

The dolls themselves represent the imperial court during the Heian period, with the top tier featuring the emperor and empress, and the lower tiers featuring courtiers, musicians, and attendants. The dolls are often passed down from generation to generation, with families investing significant time and money in acquiring new dolls and maintaining the tradition.

The celebration of Hinamatsuri also involves special foods and drinks, such as “hishimochi,” a tri-colored rice cake, and “shirozake,” a sweet sake made from fermented rice.