Although the dolls are dressed in clothes reminding of the Heian Period, the March 3rd Hina Matsuri “Doll Festival” is not that old. The festival first appeared during the Edo Period, inspired by a really old custom, Hina Nagashi 「雛流し」 - “Floating Dolls", during which simple paper dolls on miniature straw boats were placed on water, to carry away the bad spirits, bad luck and diseases.
In the beginning of the festival, the dolls displayed inside the homes were standing dolls, inspired by the ones made of paper. The Hina Matsuri dolls we know today appeared much later and have a variety ranging from simple versions, like those in the today’s photo, to very complex dolls, fully dressed in juunihitoe, the twelve-layered court costumes of the Heian Period.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: