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




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.