- 'Dolls Festival'. The other name, derived from the seasonal day (see Gosekku), is momo-no-sekku. In modern times Girls' Day. Models of dolls in Heian court costume with tiny accessories such as palanquins and tableware are displayed and offerings of sake, peach-blossom and rice-cakes are placed before the display. Hishi-mochi (lozenge-shaped rice cakes), shiro-zake (white sake, made from sake and rice malt) and other special miniature sweets made for this ceremony echo an earlier custom of going out for a picnic. The older form of the festival still practised in some areas involves making paper or clay dolls and floating them downriver on straw floats to carry away the threat of illness to daughters of the household (cf. hitogata practices). Thus at the Awashima jinja, Wakayama on hina-matsuri, several thousand dolls offered to the shrine during the year are floated out to sea in boats.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.