In Japan, there is a traditional festival called Shichi-go-san, which is celebrated every year on November 15th. This festival is a special occasion for families to celebrate the growth and good health of their children. Shichi-go-san, which means “Seven-Five-Three” in English, is a significant milestone for children who are turning seven, five, or three years old.
Honoring the Children
Shichi-go-san is a time to honor and bless the children as they transition into new stages of their lives. In Japanese culture, these ages are considered critical milestones in a child’s development. It is believed that at the age of three, boys and girls become more aware of their surroundings and begin to learn about their responsibilities. At the age of five, children are seen as becoming more independent, while at the age of seven, they are considered to be entering the age of reason.
One of the most iconic aspects of Shichi-go-san is the traditional dress worn by the children. Girls who are three or seven years old wear a special ceremonial kimono called a “hakama,” which is a long pleated skirt. They also wear a traditional hairstyle with accessories such as ribbons and flowers. Boys who are three or five years old wear a “hakama” as well, along with a kimono and a “haori” jacket. These traditional outfits symbolize the children’s transition into a new phase of their lives.
On the day of Shichi-go-san, families visit shrines to offer prayers for the health and well-being of their children. They bring along a special bag filled with items that represent good luck and prosperity, such as candy, rice cakes, and money. The children receive blessings from the priests at the shrine, and their parents pray for their continued growth, happiness, and success.
Another important aspect of Shichi-go-san is the tradition of capturing the moment through photography. Families hire professional photographers or take pictures themselves to preserve the memories of this special day. The children pose in their traditional attire, and these photographs become cherished keepsakes for the family. It is a way to document and celebrate the children’s growth and development, creating lasting memories for years to come.
After the shrine visit, families gather together for a celebratory meal. They enjoy traditional Japanese dishes and delicacies, such as sushi, tempura, and mochi. The feast is a time for the family to come together and celebrate the children’s growth and good health. It is also an opportunity for relatives to offer gifts and blessings to the children.
Shichi-go-san has been celebrated in Japan for centuries and continues to be an important tradition in modern times. It is a significant event for families to celebrate their children’s growth, health, and well-being. The festival serves as a reminder of the importance of family and the joy of watching children grow and develop. It is a time to honor the past, celebrate the present, and look forward to the future.
In conclusion, Shichi-go-san is a cherished festival in Japan that celebrates children’s growth and good health. It is a time for families to come together, honor their children, and offer prayers for their continued well-being. The traditional dress, shrine visits, photography, and celebratory feasts all contribute to the rich cultural significance of this festival. Shichi-go-san serves as a reminder of the importance of family and the joy of watching children grow and thrive.