In our office, we have a corner we call "small world" for displaying traditional Japanese seasonal themes. And one of the surest signs of coming of spring in Japan is Hina-Matsuri, the Festival of Dolls, which starts in the last week of February with the main celebration held on March 3 of each year.
Yoko-san created this display. She is a Japanese tea ceremony master who visits our office twice a week. The kimono in the photo is the same one she wore as a little girl during Hina-Matsuri nearly 70 years ago and still looks gorgeous!
The porcelain dolls are called the Lord and the Princess. They are a Miyazaki specialty called Sadowara dolls, handcrafted by local artisans.
The hanging ornament to the right has a colorful round ball in the center called Mari, surrounded by little monkeys clinging to the strings. Mari has no sharp corners and looks the same all around, representing harmony, peace, and truthfulness. The little monkeys are protectors of Mari and ward off all evil things.
One of our staff crafted the six origami decorations. She chose the green to represent a local variety of oranges called Tachibana citrus, and the pink to imitate the about-to-arrive cherry blossoms. Two square origami boxes in the front hold special sweet rice crackers called Hina-arare.
The weather is still cold, but the unmistakable signs of the coming of spring are everywhere. And our "small world" corner is a welcome reminder of its imminent arrival!