Adventurers returning home for the first time in a long while are noticing a lot of changes. Many are cocking their heads and saying, "What's happening this time?"
Pink-blossomed trees line the streets. Folding screens and three-colored rice cakes from the East are found everywhere.
The Carpenters' Guild, the Culinarians' Guild, and the Rhinostery worked together to bring about this festival, known as "Hina-Matsuri," which originated in Eastern lands.
But what is the meaning behind the "Hina-Matsuri"?
Adventurers hear many things, so perhaps by piecing together their stories we can determine the true nature of the festival. We asked several well-informed adventurers what they knew.
"I heard it's a festival to honor somebody important who did something good," said Kenpi (Lakshmi).
"Isn't this a festival to pray for chocobos to grow big and strong?" said Kityo (Ragnarok).
"It's the 'Doll Festival!' You set up dolls on a 'hinadan' and pray for the health of your daughters. If you forget to take down the doll stand before the end of the festival, your daughters will never marry. You have to be careful," said Gerugeru (Bismarck).
"I heard that it's a festival for families with daughters. They decorate the house with mock-ups of the things their daughters will need when they get married," said Asaichi (Lakshmi).
The information provided by these and many other adventurers allowed us to put together the following picture of the festival.
"Hina-Matsuri" is a festival for protecting young girls from evil and praying for their health. Also known as the "Doll Festival," it takes place on the third day of the third month of the year.
The festival decorations include miniature furniture and dolls of nobles in ceremonial dress, as well as sweet rice cakes and peach-colored flowers.
This brings up another question. Is the "Hina-Matsuri" that we witnessed authentic?
Unfortunately, it seems that there is a sizable difference between our festival and the original. Or perhaps it would be more proper to say that there is a "difference of size."
The original festival uses dolls that you can hold in one hand. Due to a misunderstanding, the decorations for the "Hina-Matsuri" were constructed on a much larger scale, allowing actual people to take the place of the dolls.
The festival was planned with the enjoyment of everyone in mind, and the spirit of the occasion seemed to reach adventurers despite the mix-up.
"I sat in front of the folding screen with my closest friend. It was strange. A lot of old memories came bubbling up. I was aware of how much time had passed and was grateful for all his help," said Poppel (Garuda).
"It was fun, I guess. When I returned to Bastok, I was greeted by a grand display of pink blossoms lining the streets. It was simply stunning. There was food, too. But the flowers were the best part," said Greywolfe (Caitsith).
A flurry of pink flower petals dances in the breeze. That gentle image has probably made everyone's day a little brighter.