March 3rd is Girls’ Fest Day in my homeland, decorating dolls to wish for girls’ health, prosperity, and happiness. Together with its being held in the season of spring flowers like plums, peaches, and cherries blooming, everywhere you look it is pink and everything you smell is sweet… or so it feels.
I love joining in on this celebratory atmosphere. Although it is not my most favourite colour, pink is charming and uplifting to see especially in springtime. And although I do not like to smell too much sweet scent, a hint of sweetness modestly but surely floating around in the air is quite enjoyable.
But I have always felt a bit of uneasiness having so much – or sometimes, nothing but – pink colours and sweet scents on Girls’ Fest. Maybe because it makes me feel like it is showing, consciously or not, our wish and expectation for girls to be pink and sweet… and possibly, nothing else.
Maybe there are girls who wants to, and can be, something other than pink and sweet?
And if so, maybe our wishes and expectations for them to be happy being pink and sweet would actually make them unhappy?
But, as I make this post on March 24, 2017, I am beginning to think a little differently, after going to see an exhibit of Girls’ Fest dolls owned by yet another one of the major conglomerates of my country of origin. Every girl in this family, including the wives that married into this family, owned at least one elaborate set of dolls of her own, made by the best doll-makers of the time.
No photos of the dolls were allowed, so just a photo of the poster of the exhibit, but gorgeous, are they not?
And every girl, including the wives, made significant contributions to the family business. A couple of them were very dexterous, and helped to revive an almost lost art that one of the family businesses were trying to preserve. Another grew up to be so socially adept that, when she married out, she played an important role in bridging the businesses of the two families. And yet another applied her kind and caring nature to promote women’s social status as good health and welfare professionals.
From what I could see, these women were all surrounded by wishes and expectations for them to be pink and sweet. And I believe they grew up to be excellent pink and sweet ladies. But maybe they did not despair being wished and expected to be pink and sweet – maybe they mastered it and used it to their (or their families’) full advantage.
Maybe pink and sweet is not all that girls can be.
But maybe I wish that girls do not reject being pink and sweet… maybe it is a prerogative for girls.
Maybe it must not be the only key, but certainly a good one to have, to open up the door to a future filled with health, prosperity, and happiness for girls.
On my way home from the exhibit, I bought some pink and sweet-looking foods:
But look, whereas the one on the left is really pink and sweet (sweet red bean paste in sticky rice wrapped by cherry leaf), the one on the right is not originally pink and actually a bit sour (vinegared rice mixed with chopped fishes and vegetables, though they do not show well in the photo, in pink-tinted egg crêpe and wrapped by cherry leaf)… what a pleasant surprise!
Both equally yummy, but in very different ways!
Maybe I see happiness for girls in the form like the one on the right – pink and sweet-looking, but much more on the inside, and fully appreciated for it. Happy Girls’ Fest!