The 3rd of March is the Girls’ Festival. People decorate their house with Hina dolls and invoke their daughters’ good health and growth.
But, originally this event was not for girls.
What is “Joshi-no Sekku (上巳の節句)?
It originated in China. Around AD 300, An event “Joshi-setsu (上巳節)” was begun.
“Joshi (Jomi / 上巳)” means the day of the Snake (the sixth of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac) early in March.
People used to think that devils tend to come inside of houses or their bodies when the seasons change, so they used to purify themselves at the waterside.
Japanese envoys to China during the Tang Dynasty brought this custom back to Japan.
Japanese people had a custom of purifying themselves with water since the Heian era.
Also, around the same time Japanese noble class girls used to play with dolls which is the origin of hina-dolls.
These customs were joined and became “Joshi-no Sekku (the seasonal festival of Joshi / 上巳の節句)”.
Later, “Joshi-no Sekku” as one of five seasonal festivals, was established in the Edo era.
Then, this day became “The Girls’ Festival (Hina-matsuri / ひな祭り)” as opposed to “The Boy’s Festival” which is held on the 5th of May.
They also used to make dolls to keep evil spirits away from their children.
The Girl’s Festival is also called “Momo-no Sekku (a seasonal festival of peach blossom / 桃の節句)”.
This is not only the season of peach blossom, but people used to think that peach trees were holy trees which could remove devils.
Click here for a Girls’ festival event in Kagoshima.