Dolls day

We are getting close to March 3rd (3/3), a day of celebration for little girls. To prepare for it, families with daughters are setting up a red-carpeted display in the shape of a staircase in their living room, with beautiful dolls. There is a lot of information available on-line about the spiritual origins of this festival called “Hinamatsuri”, and I shall focus on the role of sake, exhibited on the second stair, just below the Emperor and Empress. One can expect to see there “three court ladies”, the literal translation for “sannin kanjo”. The one in the centre is holding a tray with various offerings. The other two are in charge of sake service, reserved for the Emperor and nobility in Heian era (10th century). One is holding a service vessel, in the shape of a lipped bowl connected to a long straight handle, called “nagae choshi”. The other one has a deeper container which will be used for refills (“kuwae choshi”). The tradition was to drink a sweet cloudy sake called “shirozake” on that day, but the habit has lost ground. Toshimaya shuzou, a brewery from Tokyo, is trying to resurrect it. For those who live in Tokyo, I can recommend the exhibition rich of beautiful ancient dolls at Hyakudan Kaidan (Meguro Gajoen).

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