Shichi-Go-San 2012 in Japan
15 November 2012, Thursday
Shichi-Go-San means Seven-Five-Three in Japanese is a day to celebrate Japanese kids who have reached the age of 7, 5, or 3. This celebration is not a national holiday but it’s a popular family event that all Japanese participate in. Boys of age three and five, and girls of age three and seven get to be stars of this annual event. The numbers 3, 5, and 7 are considered lucky numbers and children younger than the age of 3 are prohibited from growing out their hair. Boys after the age of five are allowed to wear hakama (traditional Japanese clothing) while girls after age 7 are allowed to use an obi (a big sash) for their kimono. Shichi-Go-San is an event that celebrates kids older than 3 being able to grow out their hair, boys older than 5 can wear hakama, and girls older than 7 can decorate their kimono with an obi.
This traditional dates back to the Heian period (794-1185) and might have started in Kyoto where only children of the nobles celebrate this passage into another stage of childhood. During the Edo period (1603-1868) this practice has been widely adopted by commoners. On this day boys and girls will wear elaborate Japanese traditional outfits and go to the local Shinto temple to pray for health, happiness and longevity. The most popular Shinto Shine in Tokyo is the Meiji Jingu. After the visit to the temple, children receive chitose ame (thousand year old candy) from their parents. Chitose ame has a stick shape and will come in bags decorated with images of turtles and cranes- the animals that represent long life in the Japanese culture. This celebration is very cute and you’ll see lots of children in cute Japanese clothes at Shinto temples everywhere and lots of opportunities to take pictures of them dressing in traditional Japanese outfits.