On March 3 in Japan there is a festival called Hinamatsuri celebrating young girls primarily under the age of 10. This unofficial holiday prays for the health and prosperity of all young girls. Traditionally the festival made young girls dress up in kimonos and make dolls out of straw or paper. Then releasing the dolls in a small constructed boat on a river, allowing any bad luck to float away with the doll. To celebrate families will display porcelain dolls dressed in decorative robes to imitate the ancient imperial court.
M.S. celebrated this festival growing up in Japan and continued to celebrate it once she moved to the United Sates, but instead for her daughter and not herself anymore. She and my mom (M.S.’s daughter) participated because they thought it was fun and didn’t exactly believe the meaning that releasing the dolls down a river will get rid of their ”bad luck”.
I think the dolls are a form of both contagious and homeopathic magic because the dolls are supposed to mimic the girl making the doll, in order for any bad luck lingering around the girl to transfer to the doll. The girl creates the doll forming an instant connection which tricks the bad energy. As the doll floats down the river it imitates the negative energy attaching to the doll leaving the young girl. The holiday date is also important to note, as March 3rd is the third month of the year on the third day of the month. That is no coincidence as women and girls are a very important part of society, they need a special day. This day ensures that young girls are healthy enough to grow up and create the next generation.