Kaua‘i museum, Kukui Grove Center celebrate Happy Girls Day!

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i Museum does not have a formal Girls Day doll set, but will take advantage of the Hina Matsuri, or today’s Girls Day Festival, to have some of its Japanese dolls on display.

Chris Faye, the museum’s curator, said dolls were a form of ridding a soul of bad luck and in Asian doll making, dolls were made — one for boys, and one for girls — where the bad luck would leave the human body in favor of a home in the dolls.

The display will be available for people during the monthly ‘Ohana Day celebration today, when kama‘aina can visit the museum for no admission fee.

Today’s event coincides with Girls Day and in addition to the Japanese dolls on display, Faye said student art from the middle schools was just installed for people to admire.

The Kaua‘i Japanese Cultural Society will also host its annual Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day, celebration at the Kukui Grove Center, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.

The celebration, themed “Warabi Ashibi-Children at Play,” will feature a special Okinawa dance presentation by Jimpu Kai USA, Kin Ryosho Ryukyu Geino Kenkyusho with Cheryl Yoshie Nakasone, sensei, or teacher, Pearl Shimizu of the Kaua‘i Japanese Society said.

Hina Matsuri evolved from ancient Shinto purification ceremonies where girls could rid themselves of impurities by breathing on the paper origami dolls, rubbing the dolls against their bodies and casting away the dolls, and thus their sins, into a river, Tammy Yee states on her website.

Hawai‘i celebrates the third day of the third month as Girls’ Day and families display their collections of elaborate dolls portraying the Japanese royal court with the Emperor and Empress, or Lord and Lady, seated at the top.

The girls day observance arrived with the Japanese and Okinawa immigrants, and like other Hawaiian lifestyle traditions, was assimilated by the population and became part of Hawaiian tradition.

Judy Shoaf, on a University of Florida website, said the festival was legally established in 1687, and many 18th Century dolls survive today as antiques.

Faye said the Kaua‘i Museum Gift Shop has a book about Girls Day and Boys Day celebrations in Hawai‘i.

Because March 3 coincides with the arrival of spring, Hina Matsuri is also called momo-no-sekku, or a festival of peach blossoms, states the About Japanese Food website.

In addition to the display of dolls, families also decorate with peach blossoms, shiro-zake, or white rice wine, and hishi-mochi, or diamond-shaped rice cakes, on the stands with the dolls.

The hishi-mochi are colored in pink to imply peach blossoms, white implying snow and green symbolizing new growth.

Girls in Japan would traditionally invite their friends to a home party with a special meal of chirashizushi, clam soup and sakura-mochi.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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