Today, March 3rd is Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Day. I’ve spent a bit of time in Japan, and was familiar with the elaborate alter of dolls dressed as a Hein period court. But I hadn’t learned until recently that traditionally, the celebration was observed by constructing simple dolls made from straw, placing them on boats and releasing tm on a nearby river. This ceremony, known as hina nagashi, was said to carry any bad luck or misfortune away, keeping girls safe and happy. I find the ceremony particularly interesting because the Irish/Scottish have a similar custom for Imbolc/St. Brigid’s Day, celebrating the beginning of spring, when village girls parade a straw doll Brídeóg throughout the village, followed by feasting and celebration.
So, on a gray and gloomy day, when the hope for spring transcends all cultures, it’s an appropriate time to wish good luck upon everyone, most especially my favorite girls.