March 3 ~  Soul of a Girl Sources of Japanese Tradition

"Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?" ~ Anne Frank

mahalo richard

Today is Japanese Girls Day, Hina-matsuri (Festival of Dolls), a day to celebrate the success and happiness of girls with festival and food.

"In every girl is a goddess," wrote Francesca Lia Block.

Families display hina-ningyo (special ornamental dolls) and pray for each young girl's growth and happiness. Traditionally, the figurines, including the emperor and empress dolls, are dressed in court costumes and arranged on a five- or seven-tiered stand covered with a red (good luck) cloth. Many dolls are handed down from generation to generation.

Hishimochi, diamond-shaped rice cakes, are eaten, colored red (or pink), to chase away evil spirits; white, for purity; and green, for fertility and good health. As the Japanese Proverb observed, "Even the wishes of an ant reach heaven."

Another Japanese custom, hina-matsuri, sends away bad luck by floating paper dolls down the river and evolved from ancient Shinto purification practices. "To teach is to learn," said another Proverb from Japan.

Hina-matsuri has also been called momo-no-sekku, the festival of peach blossoms, which celebrates the coming of spring. The peach blossom is feminine, beautiful, and tranquil. The flower symbolizes a happy marriage and links culture with nature in passionate splendor.

The soul of every girl is precious.