They may be dolls, but setting up a seven-meter high pyramid of these traditional figures was hardly child’s play.
March 3 is Hina Matsuri, also known as the Doll Festival, a holiday that is meant to celebrate the health and happiness of the girls in a family. Traditionally, a set of dolls, which are dressed in the style of members of the court during the Heian period, are bought shortly after the birth of a daughter. The dolls are meant to help ensure that a household’s daughters all find suitable marriage partners, and particularly precious hina figures are passed down from generation to generation.
Home displays of these dolls (which are usually set up by mid-February) can be quite simple or very elaborate – anything from a pair of dolls to several of the figures, arranged over three or four platforms. Displays in public spaces can be even more impressive – the celebrated collection at Tokyo’s Meguro Gajoen event hall takes up seven rooms and features hand-crafted items from all around Japan.
But this year, the city of Konosu in Saitama Prefecture has outdone itself, and the entire country for that matter, putting together a seven-meter (23-foot) tall hinadan (doll pyramid) in the Elumi Konosu Shopping Mall.
Approximately 1800 dolls from around the country have been arranged on 31 platforms; 19 trained carpenters were responsible for placing the dolls on the higher platforms, while a team of 60 volunteers decorated the lower levels. And, as it’s considered bad luck to leave the hina dolls displayed after March 4, there will be some pretty busy carpenters at work on Friday, March 3.