A Celebration of Girls and Dolls

  Every year on March 3, the Japanese celebrate Girls' Day by praying for their young daughters' health and future happiness. Girls' Day is also called the Doll Festival because people arrange special dolls on a staircase1-like shelf a few weeks before March 3. On the day of the festival, a party is held for the girls where sake2 and diamond3-shaped rice cakes are consumed. The dolls are then promptly boxed up on March 4. If not, according to superstitions4, the daughters will have a hard time finding a husband.

  Girls' Day is connected to an old custom that used dolls to get rid of evil. Families would make dolls out of paper, breathe on them, and then rub them against their bodies. This transferred any bad luck the family members had to the dolls. Afterwards, the dolls were taken to the nearest river and thrown in. As they floated away, the dolls took the bad luck with them.

  Nowadays, festival dolls are beautiful, expensive, and are not thrown away. Instead, they stay with a girl throughout her life and are taken good care of. Brides even take their dolls with them after getting married. These former carriers of bad luck have now become treasured mementos5.

A Celebration of Girls and Dolls

  每年的三月三日,日本人會為他們年幼的女兒祈求健康及將來的幸福,藉此慶祝女兒節。女兒節又稱為人偶節,這是因為人們在三月三日的數週前就會在階梯狀的架子上擺設特別的人偶。在女兒節當天,人們會替女孩們舉行派對,並且享用清酒及菱餅(編按:菱餅是一種有粉紅、白、綠等三層顏色的菱形糕餅)。在三月四日時,這些人偶會立刻被裝箱收起。如果沒這麼做,根據迷信,該戶人家的女兒就很難找得到歸宿。

  女兒節與一個利用人偶來避邪的古老習俗有關。家家戶戶會用紙來做人偶,然後對著人偶吹氣,接著用人偶摩擦他們的身體。這樣做能把家人所遭受的任何厄運都轉移到人偶上。然後他們會把人偶帶到最近的河邊,接著丟入河中。當人偶漂走時,厄運也隨之被帶走。

  如今,這些節慶的人偶美麗、昂貴,而且不再被人丟棄。它們反而會陪伴女孩一輩子,並且受到妥善照顧。新嫁娘甚至會在婚後帶走人偶。這些從前的厄運宿主,如今變成了人們珍藏的紀念品。

1. What do Japanese people do to celebrate Girls' Day?
(A) All girls go swimming in a river.
(B) They clean their houses and throw away old dolls.
(C) They arrange beautiful dolls on a special shelf.
(D) Married women visit their side of the family.
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