We have Shichi-go- san festival on or around 15th November. What do you think it is?
I think you often see children who dress up with kimono in the ground of shrines and temples in this season. They are attending Shichi-go-san, or seven-five- three, festival. Parents take their girls of seven and three years old and boys of five and three years old to shrines or temples to pray for their healthy life. It's said that the event has become popular among people since the 17th century.
But why is it seven, five, and three years old? It's said to relate to customs from old days. At three years old, children were allowed to grow their hair. At five, boys began to wear hakama, or men's pleated skirt. At seven, girls began to wear obi sash instead of a string. In the old days, children's mortality rate was higher than today. I can imagine the feeling of our ancestors who have been celebrating the growth of their children at each turning point.
The Japanese life is filled with these traditional events throughout the year even today. It might be interesting to find out their roots when you happen to see them in a town during your stay in Japan.
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