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Series STUDENT'S CORNER Hina Matsuri ひな祭り Girls’ Festival SELENA HOY M ARCH third is a special day in Japan; it's the day of the Hina Matsuri, or Girls’ Festival. On this day, girls are celebrated and families pray for their health and prosperity. Splendid dolls are the main decoration for this occasion. They’re very fine, often made of porcelain. They’re usually displayed in the home starting around mid-February and remain on display until March third. It’s said to be bad luck to display them after that, so families are quick to pack them away when the festival is done. The two main dolls represent the ancient emperor and empress, with the empress dressed in a sumptuous silk kimono that sometimes has up to 12 layers of fabric. They’re placed on a red cloth in front of a folding screen painted in shining gold or delicate patterns. Many people have just these two dolls, but there are larger sets with up to seven levels of dolls representing different members of the royal court. In these big sets, three ladies-in-waiting are placed below the emperor and empress. Then below them are five musicians, and below them are two court ministers. The fifth level has three samurai, and the last two levels have tools, furniture and carriages. 22 | highlighting japan