The Doll's Festival (Hinamatsuri)
The Doll's Festival (Hinamatsuri (雛祭り takes place on March 3. Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display a set of ornamental dolls (雛人形 hina-ningy ) representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period. Hinamatsuri is a time to pray for the health and well being of young girls. Most homes with young girls will set up a display of dolls. Around the display dedications of peach blossoms, cube rice cakes, special colored and diamond shaped rice cakes, and white sake are made. This ceremony is similar to a Chinese ceremony in which the sins of the body are transferred to a doll that is then set adrift on a river. The celebration of this festival in Japan is traceable to the Edo Period (1603-1867).