Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival)


                                                         Owned by Kyoto National Museum

Doll Altar at Kyoto National Museum

Hina Matsuri, or Doll Festival, is celebrated on March 3 in Japan. Parents celebrate their daughters' happiness, growth, and good health on this day.

This festival had its origin about 1,000 years ago in the Heian Period (794-1192). It is a traditional custom to display ceremonial dolls on tiers of shelves covered with scarlet carpet. These dolls are dressed in the fashion of the people of the ancient court. The Emperor and Empress are placed on the upper-most tier, followed by the ladies in waiting and ministers.

There is a superstition about hina dolls. If a girl does not put away the dolls quickly after the Hina Festival, then she will not get married for a long time.

Nearly 13,000 American friendship dolls were sent to Japan in 1927 to join together with Japanese dolls to celebrate Hina Matsuri. The article on Doll Messengers of Friendship from America provides details on how Japanese girls celebrated Hina Matsuri in the 1920s.

Below are links to find additional Hina Matsuri information and photos:

Return to History of American Blue-eyed Dolls

Photo used with permission of Kyoto National Museum

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