March 3rd is Hina Matsuri or, the doll festival. A double three, five, or seven is an auspicious number. When my children were young we set up a very elaborate display of court dolls. On a five tiered step covered in red fabric were the Prince and Princess dolls at the top, sitting in front of a gold screen with lanterns on either side. Below them sat three Ladies -in-Waiting and below them five Court Musicians. The fourth step down had the Minister of the right and the Minister of the left to each side with tables of "food" set between. The bottom step had two little trees on each side, a citrus and a cherry and all kinds of miniature furniture, palanquins, and the like. Fancier sets may have as many as seven or even nine steps with lots to display.
These were set up a few weeks before the date and taken down soon after the festival. On that day special food is served. When my door bell rang unexpectedly I found my neighbor with a dish of the special sushi she has made and brought to us to enjoy for many years, the first being 1965 when my first daughter was a toddler.
These days I do not have room to set out an entire set of Hina dolls. A few Prince and Princess dolls live in a glass case and a quilted runner on my coffee table will have to do. (You might notice that many dolls are paired to represent these two. On the table are even a prince and princess snake and two old bobble headed people.)
Tonight we will have a special treat with my third daughter and my Granddaughter Leia.