04 March, 2005

ひな祭り! (Hinamatsuri!) ^^

Been so busy with real life stuff, I didn't get to accomplish much today. But no matter! For today is a day of celebration in Japan, the celebration which the Moogles are out helping all in Vana'diel celebrate, and unfortunately, it seems that a lot of the English-speaking populace has no idea what in the world is going on. Labeling things as "the worst event SE has planned" is missing the point, I think. So, I'll take it upon myself to explain more about "Hinamatsuri." ^^

/em clears throat.

Hinamatsuri, or the "Doll's Festival" is celebrated in Japan on the 3rd of March (hence the title). For the Japanese, this is a day to pray for a young girl's growth and happiness. That's right- a festival for girls. That explains why those cakes you eat (more on that in a bit) turn you into little girls of the appropriate race, and consequently, why there are no Galka cakes. >_< "Hinamatsuri" is also called "Momo no sekku", or the peach festival, because of the peach blossom season on the lunar calendar (which Japan no longer follows, but hey, tradition! ^^) This is a festival that dates back to the Edo period in Japan (1603-1867).

During this time, most homes with young girls will set up a display of "hinaningyo", or "hina dolls". Around the dolls, peach blossoms, assorted rice cakes, including special coloured and diamond-shaped ones called "hinamochi", and white sake are placed as offerings. The hinaningyo are arranged in five or seven tiers covered with a red carpet. These tiers represent the various social ranks in society, so at the top sit the Emperor and Empress, followed by three court ladies (sannin-kanjo), then five musicians (gonin-bayashi), two ministers (udaijin and sadaijin), then finally, three servants on the bottom (at least, in a 5-tier display).

The costumes worn by the dolls dates back to the Heian period of Japan (794-1185), and the Empress's costume, a "juuni-hitoe", or the "twelve-layered ceremonial robe" is still worn today at the Royal family's wedding ceremony.

However, these dolls can be very-wery expensive! Some of the full sets can cost more than one million yen! >_< There's also a superstition that if you do not put away the hinaningyo quickly after 3rd March, the daughter will marry late, which, at least in traditional thought, is not a good thing. >_<

Finally, there is also a song for Hinamatsuri, appropriately named "Ureshii Hinamatsuri" (Happy Hinamatsuri!):

Akari wo tsukemashou bonbori ni
Ohana wo agemashou momo no hana
Go-nin bayashi no fue taiko
Kyou ha tanoshii Hinamatsuri

Translated, the lyrics read:

Let’s light the lanterns,
Let’s set peach flowers.
Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums.
Today is a joyful Hinamatsuri!

Anyway, back to Vana'diel. The peach blossoms have bloomed in the three major cities, and they are so pretty! Even better, I found a display of offerings near the fountain in Windurst Woods, which I certainly had a little bit of fun with. ^^

Finally, since this is a girl's festival...here's ME! As a little-wittle taru! (As if tarus weren't small enough already >_<)


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