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Shichi-Go-San - Japanese Festival

Guest Author - Joy Alari

Shichi-Go-San is an annual Japanese festival, which celebrates the coming of age for children in Japan, it is also called the three, five, seven festival because odd numbers are considered very lucky in Japan.

So when a child gets to the age of three, seven or Five years, its important for their parents, to organize and celebrate the Shichi-Go-San festival for them.

As important as the ritual of the Shichi-Go-San festival is, only a few people who were allowed to organise it for their children, as in the past especially during the Heian Period, only a selected few such as the Royal Nobles of Court and the Samurais, were honored to organize and celebrate Shichi-Go-San for their children.
Fortunately, the arrival of the Meiji period, changed all that and any parent who so desired, could organise a Shichi-Go-San for their child.

The Shichi-Go-San festival, is very important for Samurai sons because they normally have shorn hair, turning five means that they would now be allowed, to grow their hair as well as wear Hakama, which is a traditional trouser. Shichi-Go-San is also important for girls too because they can now use the obi instead of a cord, to hold their Kimonos.

Both boys and girls, celebrate Shichi-Go-San together, but only at the age of three because as they grow older, their ages will separate them with girls celebrating another Shichi-Go-San, when they turn seven and boys celebrating theirs, when they are five years old.

The Shichi-Go-San festival, begins with parents dressing their children, in traditional regalia, such as Kimonos for the girls, while Haori jackets and Hakama for the boys. To go with the times, some parents still dress their kids, in festive Western gear but most still favor, the traditional clothes on such a special day.

Next parents and children will go to the temple, where the priests is expected to offer the special prayers for Shichi-Go-San, which is good health and long life for all the children.

Japanese parents are also expected, to continue with the theme of the festival, which is by buying the special Shichi-Go-San candy called Chitoseame for their children. Chitoseame is also called the thousand years candy, it usually comes in white and red colors, it is long and shaped like a stick.
Chitoseame candy also come in bags, painted or drawn with Turtles and Cranes.
In Japanese myth Cranes and Turtles signify longevity, these symbols are very important, as they follow the theme for the Shichi-Go-San festival, which is long life, good health and fun for the children.

Shichi-Go-San is annually celebrated every 15th of November but as important as this ritual is, the Shichi-Go-San festival has not yet being made into a National holiday, its celebrated on the weekends closest to the 15th of November.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Joy Alari. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Joy Alari. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ching Kin Min for details.

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