Hina Matsuri

A completely over-the-top Hina Matsuri display at a train station. Photo taken about 8 years ago.

March 3rd this year is an event called “Hina Matsuri.” “Hina” means doll and “matsuri” means festival.

This is an event only for little girls, and it’s where your parents set up an elaborate display of dolls sitting on cascading platforms. At the top should be a woman and man in a kimono, and beneath them should be some servants and such. Each doll has its own meaning, but the two most important ones are the man and the woman at the top.

From what I understand of this event (I don’t have a daughter), you set up this elaborate doll display somewhere in your house, and on Hina Matsuri you eat some sweets with your daughter. You are then apparently supposed to quickly take down the decorations. The saying goes that the later you are taking down the decorations, the later on in life your daughter will marry.

To say this event is archaic is an understatement, but some families I know simply enjoy the excuse to put pretty dolls out and have some nice desserts with their daughter.

My main drawback for this event is the sheer price of these dolls. I see them for sale at shopping centers, and the average price for the two main dolls and a couple of servants is 1,500 dollars. That is an insane amount of money to be spending, in my humble opinion.

Of course there are cheaper options – I like that my kid once brought home two Hina Matsuri dolls he’d made at school out of origami paper.