March 3rd is Hina Matsuri or Doll Festival in Japan. Every year, families with young daughters place a set of ornamental dolls called Hina dolls on a red-covered platform. These dolls represent the emperor and the empress together with their attendants and musicians dressed in Heian period. The parents and elders pray to these dolls for the safety of their children. There is also a belief that the dolls should not be displayed past March 4th for it will result in a late marriage for the daughter. A few years back, I received a couple of Hina dolls from my former neighbor. It is a pair of the emperor and the empress made of washi paper. Since we do not follow the tradition, the dolls are permanently on display in our house as part of my doll collection.
Ladies in Waiting
Last Tuesday when I visited the corner flower shop near Nishi-Kasai station, they have some dolls on display for Hina Matsuri. After my usual greetings with the owner, she told me something about the Hina dolls. My Japanese is not that deep, so I did not understand clearly what she told me. To my surprise, she asked me to choose which dolls I like best. I chose the three court ladies because I already have the emperor and empress dolls. And as I leave the shop, I have with me the flowers I bought and the three dolls. She gave them to me as a gift 🙂
Hina Matsuri Ikebana
During our regular Ikebana class last Tuesday, we received a set of flowers intended for Hina Matsuri. We got some peach blossom stems, mustard flowers, stock flowers, sweet pea flowers, and carnations. For my arrangement, I tried to get make it a little contemporary while still keeping the traditional principle. By tradition, peach blossoms should be the main feature of the arrangement. With this in mind, I highlighted the stems of the peach blossoms. Instead of the usual round Moribana container, I used a slender short vase. I also did not use a kenzan or frog needle to hold the materials.