One of the most beautiful celebrations in Japan takes place every 3rd of March: Hina Matsuri– the Doll Festival, a day when the families with girls are displaying a very special set of dolls, hina-ningyō, thus praying for their girl’s good health and happiness.
As you can see from this photo, the traditional sets of Hina Matsuri dolls are true works of art. A complex set can include up to 15 dolls (and can cost up to 1 million yen…), while the simplest set includes only two: the Emperor (Odairi-sama) and the Empress (Ohime-sama). Placed in front of a gold folding screen (byōbu), they are wearing Heian Period clothing (the empress wears juunihitoe, a twelve-layered robe), the Emperor is holding a shaku (a ritual baton) and the Empress is holding a fan. The set also includes two paper lanterns (bonbori), two flower vases, two lacquered boxes, a mandarin orange tree (ukon no tachibana) on the left and a cherry blossom tree (sakon no sakura) on the right.