Sagemon (さげもん)

Sagemon is a custom that is passed down in Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture. It is one of the hanging ornaments.

A family blessed with a female child is given hinadan (a tiered platform carpeted in red for traditional dolls for the Girl's Festival on March 3rd) from the parental home of the father, while the hanging ornament is prepared by maternal relatives, mother, and grandmother of the child. The hanging ornaments consisting of dolls of Higashiizu Town in Shizuoka Prefecture and kasafuku hanging ornaments of Sakata City in Yamagata Prefecture are similar customs.

Formally, one ties a red cloth around a 50 cm long chikuwa (tube shaped fish sausage) and hangs a total of 49 - seven rows of seven - Yanagawa mari (cotton balls wound tightly with multicolored threads) and other small objects on it. It expands beyond 170 cm in total length.

During the time when the lifespan of a person was considered to be fifty years, women would fall one step back by making to 49 years, but adding two rows of grand Yanagawa mari in center to wish for the child to live beyond fifty years of age by making the total sum 51. These are displayed on the first annual festival of a baby, on the left and right of hinadan. Currently, there are simplified versions with five rows of five plus one mari, or ones available in a glass case.

Origin

This began as part of the education of young ladies, by sewing and giving a small bag to store a koto plectrum as a wish for health and growth with the birth of a princess. This gradually changed shape into hanging hina dolls and passed down with Yanagawa mari. This spread to commoners when these women went back to their parental homes.

Wealthy families decorated the whole room with sagemon in order to make the hinadan look more lavish before inviting guests. Even families that could not afford hinadan sewed pieces of cloth from futon (Japanese blanket with cover) and made a heartfelt first annual present for a baby.

2009 (April 2008-March 2009) Event Plan

February 11 (National Holiday)-April 3, 2008 (Friday)
January 31 (Saturday) and February 1 (Sunday): Sagemon Exhibition and Spot Sale Fair
February 11 (National Holiday): Beginning Ohinasama (dolls) Festival starts 10 am at Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine.
March 1 (Sunday): Yanagawa Kimono Day and Kaeribina (Return of Hina) Festival
March 15 (Sunday): Ohinasama Water Parade from 11 am on the edge of the bay to 12 pm at Mihashira Jinja Shrine.
March: Ebisu-hina-koji street
March 7 (Saturday), 8 (Sunday), 21 (Saturday) and 22 (Sunday): baby's first annual festival between 10 am to 3 pm. March 29 (Sunday): Search for parents of ohinasama, and the reception starts 1 pm at Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine. April 3 (Friday): nagashi bina (floating hina dolls) festival on a river near Yanagawa Bridge to Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine.