Today is Girls’ Fest Day in my country of origin. Families with daughters gather to wish health, prosperity, and happiness for the girls. The occasion is celebrated by having colourful sweets and snacks and festivity meals, and decorating the house with dolls.
Lovely, is it not? At the top are the emperor and empress, and going down, there are a trio of female servants for serving foods and drinks, a quintet of musicians, a pair of guards, and a trio of male servants for housing and cleaning. At the bottom are carriages, food and beverage catering, and boxes of dishes and clothing. Citrus and cherry trees complete the decoration.
I believe the decoration is supposed to depict an outing of girls’ dream back in the days – being an empress, married to the man who can give her anything she wants, have people at her feet (literally!) serving her every need, have no worries for her safety, enjoying the beautiful scenery with nice music and ample food.
Well, maybe back then, girls’ happiness was all in marriage. Families wished their daughters to marry well so she could be cared for well… fed and secured, and on occasions, provided with some luxury to enjoy. Girls’ happiness depended on how much their men could give them – the food to taste, the music to listen to, the sight to see.
But, maybe in our days, girls have much more freedom to sense the world by themselves. They can taste the food of their choosing with their own tongues, listen to the music of their choosing with their own ears, see sights of their choosing with their own eyes. Girls’ happiness depends much more on what they choose to grab with their own hands.
Maybe today, girls’ happiness is not something to just wish for in the hopes that someone will give it to them, but something we can teach them to aim for on their own, just as we do to boys. Maybe we can even let them know that they are just as capable as boys are in giving happiness to others.
Girls, I wish for your happiness today. I wish that your happiness is equally valued as that of the boys. I wish that you will be given a fair chance to pursue it. I wish that our stereotypical view of your happiness will stop getting in your way.
I wish that you will be allowed to be just girls wanting to be happy.
A last note: As a variation to the dolls decoration, there are paper dolls that are floated down rivers in place of you to carry away your worries and misfortunes. This one is for you, my Southeast Asian neighbour who spent last night in fear of natural disaster.