In the origin, it was the doll’s celebration. In fact, in ancient times, it was thought that the negative and evil influences on the humans could have been transferred on the dolls, which were then thrown into water courses, as a sacrifice, to get rid of the negativity and misfortune. In feudal times, it was born the tradition, still preserved, to set up, at home, an exhibition of finely dressed dolls (hinaningyou) with traditional costumes of the past, representing the marriage of a princess, as a good wish for the daughters. On the top step, there are the emperor “Dairi” and the empress “Hina”. Some families own prestigious collections that preserve, jealously, from generation to generation, keeping the dolls in special wooden boxes coated with silk. Fans can still find some old and rare piece, in the fairs that take place in late January, early February, especially for the occasion. Also the specialized shops and department stores, in that period, make dedicated corners, where there are dolls for any kind of space requirements and cost. The installation it’s presented from the first days of February and withdrawn, quickly, immediately after March 3rd. It’s a popular customary to think that if delayed, even the marriage of the celebrated girl or girls, will tarry. Probably, in the past, the social significance was strongly felt. The feudal image of the beautiful bride, by her husband’s side, and their entourage on the descendant steps, intended to celebrate the status quo which should have been maintained. Today, it is considered an auspicious folk tradition. It’s a sort of women celebration. On HINA day we eat a special soup: the ‘hamaguri Ushio-jiru. It’s very simple, based on hamaguri shells, symbolizing the perfection of well-matched pair, whose two components, like two halves of a single shell, fit perfectly. We eat chirashi sushi, accompanied by amazake, which is sweet and non-alcoholic sake. The typical dessert is the “hishimochi” that is offered also to the dolls, as a prayer.

At Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya, the exhibition of dolls belonged to several princesses of the Owari Tokugawa dynasty, amazes by the richness of the materials and gentle processing, as symbol of a high rank family. What strikes, above all, is the refinement of the dolls’ costumes, made from fabrics and precious trimmings, and the faithful reproduction, miniaturized, of Lady Sachigimi’s trousseau, the largest in Japan, whose original is also exposed until April 9th. Sachigimi (1820-1840), an adopted daughter of the aristocratic Konoe family, in 1836, married a member of the honored Owari Tokugawa family, which gave birth to the famous first Shogun, Tokugawa Ieasu. During her moving from Kyoto to Edo, her entourage, whose splendor was even described in some popular songs of the time, was of 700 people. The trousseau consists of about 80 large pieces, such as vehichles and shelves, as well as 120 dolls of Meiji, Taisho and Showa period, with related equipment.  Made of shimmering lacquer Maki-e, the whole equipment features the crests of both the Konoe and Tokugawa families, as well as the chrysanthemum, a felicitous symbol of longevity.

It’s an incredible masterpiece which recreates the magnificence and elegance of a great daimyo wedding. To be seen!

At the beautiful Kasuisai temple of Fukuroi city, in the prefecture of Shizuoka, the exhibition of 1200 dolls distributed on 32 steps, the largest in Japan, is breathtaking. In the corridors of the temple, dolls from different historical periods and different shape, enchant with fabrics and fixtures, and silhouetted against the beautiful garden view. An interesting “Mawajiyuu Hinamatsuri” project with a hundred places, scattered throughout the city, where you can see, try and taste everything related to Hinamatsuri. The exhibition is held from early January to March 31st. A fascinating event for anyone, especially for fans of fabrics and costumes, who will not have enough time  to contemplate the rarity of the materials and the skillful tailoring.

A place, a moment that just speaks one language: IKI!