Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Happy Hina Matsuri?

Today is the third day of March, the traditional time of the year to be celebrating Hina Matsuri, also known as the "Doll's Festival," or "Girl's Day." As I've been reading, in Japan, the occasion is one where parents with daughters pray for their growth and happiness. Part of the celebration includes displaying a red, cloth-covered platform, with an elaborate collection of miniature dolls and accoutrements. These displays can be quite impressive, and the finest doll collections are a marvel of detail and beauty.

For reasons not known to me, Jordan's school, here in Jerzee, is celebrating it as well. Which is great. I love the idea. As a child, I remember reading about the festival in a book I had. The picture which accompanied the text illustrated a complete seven-tier doll set up that was breathtakingly gorgeous. Naturally, I wanted one of those with every fiber of my childhood soul. And the odds of me finding one of those in our local shopping establishments was as likely as stumbling upon the Holy Grail. But anyway. I grew up. I forgot about Hina Matsuri. Till today.

I don't know what they set up at school, but the photo above is a representative segment of a traditional Japanese display from a photo - sweetgingerninja, via flickr.

A typical display looks something like this. At the top, reign the Empress and Emperor doll. Photo by: conveyor belt sushi

Monkey's school instructed us to send in a favorite doll today. I'm glad the school didn't specify that only girls bring in dolls. Unlike some members of our immediate nuclear family, I think it's great for boys to show an interest in dolls. Nurturing and caring for little baby dolls is one way to show our children how to be gentle, how to express feelings, how to be affectionate and loving. It's so basic as to be a non-issue. I got some flak, but I sent the Monkey to school with a doll today anyway.

Sadly, it was one belonging to Miss Mina. But that's ok. She was willing to share. She was so busy this morning, she forgot all about it.

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