WHEN EAST MEETS WEST
Commentary by Hank F. Miller Jr.
This festival was celebrated in China on the day of the snake in the first part of March, so it was called the"festival of the first snake day"(i.e.,the first of three days of the snake that appear during the month of March).
In Japan,the timing corresponds to the blossoming of peach trees,so the name has come to be known as the"day of the peach." This is the day that girls celebrate the doll festival known as hina matsuri, drinking shirozake (white sake) and eating sweets.
In some regions,dolls made of paper are set adrift in the river to dispel bad luck.
This festival is to wish for good health,growth and happy marriages of young girls. Dolls in ancient costumes are displayed on tiers of shelves covered by a bright red cloth.These dolls represent the emperor and empress,their nobel court ladies-in-waiting and ministers.
The Doll Festival dates back from midieval times,but it was not until the 18th century that the custom of displaying dolls came into fashion.The dolls are usually on display for about a week,but it is customary to put them away soon after March 3 because leaving them out for a long time is said to delay a daughter's marriage.
Japanese can't ever let that happen,"so everyone works feverishly to get them put away as quickly as they can."
Warm Regards and Best Wishes from Kitakyushu City, Japan.
We're all looking forward to the coming spring and much warmer weather. Hank F. Miller Jr.