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Doll"s Festival in Japan
It is a time to pray for the well being and health of young girls in Japan.
Many homes throughout the country display hina doll sets in honor of this holiday.
This celebration dates back to the Edo Era from 1603-1867, when the hina dolls were said to possess the power to contain bad omens and spirits.
In those times many believed in a Japanese custom called Hina-nagashi, this custom was to send the hina dolls down the river after they had collected the bad spirits, sending the young girls troubles down the river trapped within the dolls.
This tradition is still celebrated by the Shimogamo Shrine where every year they send these dolls down the river in hopes of safety of children.
After the crowds have cleared the monks from the Shimogamo Temple collect the dolls and burn them at the temple.
During the evening of this Hinamatsuri families bring offers of food and drink to the hina dolls in hopes of their daughters good fortune many include Shirozake a Japanese sake made from fermented rice, cakes, clam some and a small plate of Chirashizushi.
There is also a traditional dinner served during this festival known as Chirashizushi, a sugar and vinegar flavored rice with raw fish place on top of it.
Another classic dish is ushiojiru soup, which consists of fresh claims still in their shells in a salty broth and for dessert many young girls are severed white cake with strawberries on top.
A legend claims that if the father does not hide the box the day after Hinamatsuri, his daughter will be doomed to never marry.