Tracking the old record it can be inferred that Hina
Matsuri has a long history behind it. It is not known exactly when the festival
started. Some people believe that Hina Matsuri was a primitive Chinese custom
in which people transferred all worldly sins and misfortune to a doll, and
floated it on a river for warding off evil souls and spirits. Mentioning of
it was found in “The Tale of Genji,” a book written by Murasaki
Shikibu, and "Makura no Soushi" by Seishou Nagon in the Heian Period.
Thus on the basis of this information it is concluded that the festival came
to Japan in Heian Period (794-1192), that is almost one thousand years ago.
In Japan it has turned into an event called joushi no sekku that was mainly
celebrated to wish good health of the people During that period, Japanese
people used to pray to remain fit and healthy and to have fortune at the beginning
of spring. The onus of praying and also offering food to the Gods falls on
the appointed psychics called onmyouji who would remove evil spirits from
the land and transfer these ill fortunes and sickness to the dolls. After
that, the psychics throw the dolls into the river or the sea.
It is said that the original style of
a Hina Matsuri was the amalgamation between the custom and a children’s
play with usage of beautiful dolls. Play was called hiina-asobi and was quite
popular during the Heian period. Dolls of the-then period were made of paper.
In the Muromachi period (1392-1573) this time of celebrating festival was fixed
on March 3rd, and in the Edo period (1603-1867) paper dolls were being replaced
by dazzling hina dolls, and the imperial people displayed them and held a great
celebration in the imperial court. With the passage of time the event became
widespread in the feudal societies, rich merchant families, and then common
people. Till date it remained as an annual event.
An interesting incident occurred a long
time back. In the year 1927 almost thirteen thousand American friendship dolls
were sent to Japan in order to celebrate Hina Matsuri.