California Buddhist Temple Celebrates Girls' Day

March 8, 2004

Source: The San Mateo Times,1413,87~11268~2003596,00.html

On March 8, 2004 The San Mateo Times reported, "Small, porcelain-like faces and elaborate costumes were plentiful Sunday at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple -- in displays of handcrafted dolls, and on children performing traditional Japanese dances. It can only mean that Hina Matsuri -- commonly known as the Doll Festival or Girls' Day -- has come around again. The celebration, held around the third day of the third month each year, is a Japanese custom held to pray for young girls' growth and happiness, said temple Sunday school teacher Shirley Hasegawa. The custom began in Japan in the 18th century. Dolls, known as Hina, were made as toys for children of noble families. Typical emperor and empress dolls are set up on a stand, along with members of their court, musicians, and tiny dining trays with bowls and dishes. Having evolved as a celebration for the girls who would play with those dolls, Hina Matsuri also features girls performing odori -- slow-paced, interpretive dances to Japanese songs."