Tuesday, July 12, 2016

AWashiMa jiNJa

There are a lot of Japanese superstitions about dolls, and a good number of people in Japan seem to find them a little mysterious or frightening, believing that they have souls or the power to influence human lives. There are a number of shrines and festivals wherein people dispose of their old dolls and toys - they feel that if they just threw them in the garbage, the dolls' souls might come back to haunt them like ghosts.

Awashima jinja is a shrine for women and is famous for its enormous collection of dolls.

Every year on March 3rd, Awashima jinja is home to a doll festival called nagashi bina, in which boatloads of hina ningyo are launched into the ocean. As the boats are rocked by the waves, the dolls fall overboard and sink into the ocean. It is believed that the dolls will take away the sicknesses and bad luck afflicting their former owners, and the ritual has become very popular.

Love the ideas of rituals around dolls - sometimes our little gang wonder what will happen to our collections when we've 'outgrown' them.

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