Happy Girls Day!
March 3rd is Girls Day in Japan. The day is set aside to celebrate little girls and wish them happiness, growth, and luck in the coming year. It began a really long time ago (I’m too lazy to look up when right now) when people believed some dolls possessed the ability to capture evil spirits. At one point, they would burn dolls and send them down the river carrying away the evil spirits. The tradition began of giving dolls to little girls and carries on to this day.
The traditional dolls are elaborate, often ceramic and dressed in traditional Japanese attire. Works of art, really. They are often kept in glass display cases. The dolls are put out some time in February (in my case, Feb. 28th, because I always forget), and displayed in a prominent position in the home. There are elaborate setups with platforms covered in red carpet. The dolls are arranged with the Emperor and Empress on top, their court and musicians below, and some people even have carriages, houses, and other items the dolls might need. The dolls are taken down the next day and put away until the following year. If they are put away late, tradition says the girl will be a spinster.
In our house, my mother-in-law gives the girls each a Kokeshi doll. The three dolls in the photo above the dolls they received this year. They are wooden dolls originally made by farmers for their children. Now, Kokeshi is a recognized folk art in Japan.
We try to make it a special day for the girls. And by we, I mean I, who is apparently more into this than my Japanese husband. This year we went to the local Japanese market and found some little puff foods made for the day. It’s kind of like getting a specially designed box of cereal for Christmas. Same cereal inside as always, just a festive box. My mother-in-law brought the girls some traditional Japanese desserts, and I made a cake.
Since it falls on a Thursday this year and both of the older girls are in school on Thursdays, I’m letting them each take one of their dolls to share at circle time and I’m bringing boro boro for snack time. They’re like Gerber puffs but they come in individual packs with cute anime like animals on them.
There is also a Boys Day. It’s held on May 5th. Boys typically receive a kite or wind sock with a koi fish on it.
So, if you have a little girl, today is a good day to take the time to let them know you love and appreciate them.