3.06.2005

Girls' Day Doll Festival

The third day of the third month is a special day for girls. It isn't a national holiday like the fifth day of May, formerly a special day for boys, now Children's Day, but it has its own traditions. Families with girls get out their set of courtesan dolls with a prince and princess at the top of five or seven tiers of court musicians and maidens with all the paraphernalia of the ancient court. Families in tiny city apartments like ours usually get a smaller set, with only the prince and princess and a few accessories like plum trees or colorful stacks of rice cakes.

The shy 76 year old woman who lives on the third floor of our building approached me a few weeks ago, requesting permission to visit us on March third. She said that she wanted to celebrate Girls' day with us. She stops by a few times a month with snacks for the kids, but doesn't usually come inside. I told her we'd love to have her over and invited her for dinner so she could eat the traditional sushi dish that people eat on this day. Saying that she was a picky eater, she declined the dinner invitation and asked if 7:00 p.m. would be a good time to visit.

A few days later, I got our set of dolls out and on March 3rd I cleaned the house and had a nice sushi meal with the kids. We set out a bowl of tangerines to share with our visitor when she arrived. She rang the doorbell at 7:00 on the dot and I opened the door very slowly, to avoid knocking her over (J did knock her over on one occasion). She had a bag full of tangerines as a house gift, so, knowing that she had walked all the way to the fruit shop and back with her daypack with the goal of getting something nice for the children, I quickly asked J & M to take our bowl of tangerines into the back room. Fortunately, our visitor moved very slowly, carefully navigating every step in unfamiliar territory, looking down through her very thick glasses.

The children were happy to have a visitor and showed her our dolls and some of the 7-5-3 photos. She seemed to have a good time and was talking about other seasonal events she could contribute to, like providing rice dumplings for moon viewing in September.

Today I dusted the dolls off and returned them to their storage boxes, as displaying them too long after Girls' Day is unlucky. There are no such superstitions about the Boys' Day, so we'll get L's warrior armor and carp wind sock out sometime before Mom and Dad visit.

2 comments:

Helen said...

What a nice story! I don't know any of my neighbours, and this year I didn't even put out my Hina dolls...I only have the apartment sized china ones anyway.

Lisa said...

Hey! The comment thingy is turned on! I can blab away right here!

Your kids are lucky to have such a nice neighbor. We have some very good friends in the neighborhood but the elderly neighbors tend to keep to themselves.

I wish I knew about boys day. I could have done it with Finn.