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Hina Matsuri



 

In this festival, dolls are loaded up in boats and sent out to sea with the wish that they take impurities and evil spirts out of the girls and keep them at bay.

Originally, people rubbed drawings of people on themselves and let them float away in a river. Impurities were thought to have been transferred to the drawing and the person would be free of evil. This evolved into the making of paper dolls and sending them downriver. Now the ritual is very involved with hundreds of elaborate dolls and a rich ceremony.


After some singing done by the local elementary/preschoolers the first boat is brought out and the ceremony can begin.


A little girl is assisted by two women to load
the first boat with the dolls that were inside the shrine.

Once the dolls are loaded into the boats, a procession is made from the shrine to the dock.

 

The boats are then carefully carried to the end of the dock where they await the final blessings.


The little girl and her assistants come out onto the dock
and adorn the boats with flowers and say a few prayers.


The last blessings are then said...


And after the final blessings the boats are
pushed into the water and towed out to sea...


But they don't go out too far...
Fishermen were dragging the dolls up in their nets so they had to find another way to get rid of them. I've heard that once all the spectators have gone home, the boats are towed back to the shrine and the dolls are burned.

 

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