Hina Matsuri – The Take-Down

The Complete Hina Matsuri Display at the Nishimachi International School

The Complete Hina Matsuri Display at the Nishimachi International School

Every February, many families and public places across Japan erect elaborate displays of the Emperor’s court in honor of Hina Matsuri, or Girls’ Day – celebrated on March 3rd.  These displays, which originated in the Heian Period (794-1185 AD) in Japan’s history, are often multi-tiered and intricate representations of the entire court, from the traditional 5 musicians, to the

Some other intricacies of the display, which at Nishimachi is nearly 100 years old.

Some other intricacies of the display, which at Nishimachi is nearly 100 years old.

tiny little representations of the royal table complete with festival treats such as Hina Arare (sweet little rice crackers) or chirashizushi (mixed fish over rice).

Members of the royal court

Members of the royal court

Though the displays can be enjoyed across the country for most of the month of February, it is imperative that they all be taken down by March 4th, or the superstition says that the girls of the house will marry late, or won’t marry well, or something of that nature.  Taking all of the intricate little pieces down and putting them away in the proper boxes for storage for a year is quite a feat.  Every little hat has to be wrapped; each doll perfectly preserved, and every bit of teensy tableware stored.  It’s quite an undertaking.  Just when you think you have everything wrapped, then all the small boxes have to be put neatly in bigger boxes for storage – don’t forget that space is at a major premium in Japan, so everything has to be as compact as possible.

Here are a few photos of the disassembling of the Hina Matsuri display yesterday at the Nishimachi International School.

Intricate packing of each little piece.

Intricate packing of each little piece.

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The puzzle of fitting little boxes into one big one!

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The whole stand has to come down and be put away.

Every little hat and sword and accessory from the display gets wrapped with the utmost care!

Every little hat and sword and accessory from the display gets put away carefully!

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The little things they use to protect the dolls from bugs for a year.

The little things they use to protect the dolls from bugs for a year.

Ready for storage until February 2014!

Ready for storage until February 2014!

 

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