Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pray for the Girls

This entry comes to you a little late. I prefer to prepare you in advance and give everyone a chance to participate. Fortunately, this is something that can be done and should be done all year round. On March 3rd, we pray for the girls.

There's a very interesting story behind it. As it was told to me, many years ago Japan had a very high infant mortality rate. Particularly among girls, it was a special event if they made it to their 3rd birthday.

Distressed parents frequently asked healers to pray for the health and long life of their babies. They would remove the evil spirits and transfer bad luck and sickness to the dolls. Afterwards, they would throw the dolls into the river or sea.

Today, families buy these elaborate dolls so that little girls would grow up healthy and beautiful. They are ceremonial dolls and kids don't play with them like Barbie dolls. Rather, they are handed down like an heirloom and taken out to display only once a year for a few days. And they cost a mint! Believe me.

The full doll sets are usually arranged on a five or seven-tiered stand covered with a red carpet. At the top are the Emperor and Empress. The next step contains three court ladies, followed by five musicians, two ministers, and three servants ending the bottom row in a five-tiered display. There are also small pieces of furniture, small meal dishes, and other things. How much? More than 1million yen ($10,000) Wait! For that price, where's the cowboy, the police, and the indian chief?

Yes, yes I agree that there should be a day to pray for the boys. But hey, sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of.

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