Every March 3rd (after I came to Japan), I am wished "Happy Girl's Day" ..... I didnt know the significance of this day until I visited the Girls Festival along with K san (san is the respectful way of addressing a Japanese person) and also did some googling on it.
Hina Matsuri/Girls Day is celebrated every year on March 3rd throughout Japan. Typically if a girl child is born, parents prepare the hina dolls for them. These dolls are considered to drive away bad spirits and bring health and happiness to the girl child. One such arrangement can be seen below (The below hina doll arrangement belonged to a royal family in Saga - Saga is a place in Kyushu island)
The arrangement (called hina-dan) depicting a emperor, empress,attendants and musicians customarily comprises of five platforms. The first platform depicts the king and queen, the second platform are the attendants to the king and queen , the third is for the musicians, the fourth for ministers and the last for the general attendants. Some more arrangements/dolls that were also available for display (Pics courtesy Dinesh)
Looking at these dolls and the festivities surrounding it, some thoughts tickled my mind. One, I was never wished "Happy Girls Day" in India as India obviously doesn't celebrate one. Two, the girl child is held in honor on this day. To think that still in some places of India, the girl child is considered a burden in the family. Some of them aborted/dumped also. I always felt bad when relatives and friends would ask my parents "Oh, you have only girls... no boys!!!". Come on, we are living in the 21st century and people still live with this disgusting thought. I would feel like walking up to them and giving them a piece of mind. Some of them even got it :) (and well they never opened their mouths again atleast not in front of me). I grew up seeing my friends suddenly missing from the school rolls. The next thing I knew was they had got married (Minor marriages still do happen). Even an aunt of mine had a boy at a really late age just because her mother-in-law wanted a grandson. Thankfully, my parents never had such thoughts and we didn't have to go through the "You are not a boy syndrome".
I am not a feminist and don't want to debate on the girl child vs boy child but surely to have a day meant to pray for the well being of the girl somehow appealed to me. I wish people in this technologically advancing age also advance in their thoughts.
P.S. No offence meant.