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In this article, we would like to introduce to you a Japanese culture; the Shichigosan , which is an event held in Japan each year.

The Meaning of Shichigosan

The Seven-Five-Three Ceremony

Shichigosan is a yearly event in Japan where they celebrate the growth of children. Shichi means Seven ,Go means Five and San means Three. The event is celebrated for children whose age is seven, five and three, in accordance to the events name.

In the traditional Japanese Age System, when the girl is three and seven years old and the boy is five years old, they must wear a Sunday best clothes and visit the shrine. There they go on a pilgrimage and pray and say receive their blessings.

This event was originally only celebrated in the imperial court by upper classes. However, from the Edo Period, the hierarchism vanished and the event became a public tradition.

Held on November 15th

The Seven-Five-Three Ceremony

The Shichigosan is celebrated on November 15th. It is a Shinto Ritual that began in the Edo Period and is a tradition held by the lunar calendar. Seven, five and three are all positive numbers and they represent good luck.

Originally, the month of November is to thank God for the harvest of autumn. And so, during the full moon of that month, which is on the 15th, people thank the God for the blessings, as well as the growth of their children.

How to Dress Up

  • Boys:A Hakama with haori coat decorated with one’s family crest
  • Girls( 3 yrs old):They wear a Kimono that is tucked in to their shoulder. They must not tie the band around their waist. They also wear a haori vest called Hifu 被布.
  • Girls (7 yrs old):They wear a kimono with a paint of feathers and Yuzen pattern. They must tie the band around their waist.

Ritual

The Seven-Five-Three Ceremony

There are various types of ceremonies in the Shichigosan to pray for each children’s health. The Kamioki Ceremony for the 3 years olds, the Hakamagi Ceremony for the 5 years olds and the Obitoki Ceremony for the 7 years olds.  From now, we would like to further explain about each ceremonies.

The 髪置き(Kamioki) Ceremony

In the Heian Period, regardless men or women, a child must have a buzz cut until the age of 3. This is because they believed that by shaving the hair while the child is still an infant, they will have a healthy hair when they grow up.

In the Kamioki Ceremony, they cover the head of the child with a premature gray hair and place a white powder on top. Then, they brush the hair from side to side. This is to wish that their hair will live long even if it turns gray.

The 袴着(Hakamagi) Ceremony

The Hakamagi Ceremony is a ceremony only celebrated by boys at the age of 5. The ceremony is celebrated in association to its name. They celebrate it by making the child wear a hakama for the first time.

The 帯解き(Obitoki) Ceremony

The Obitoki Ceremony is only celebrated by girls at the age of 7. In this ceremony, they will change the band of their waists and must be able to tie it on their own. This ceremony represents that the child has grown independent.

Lastly

The Seven-Five-Three Ceremony

In this article, we introduce to you a Japanese Culture called the Shichigosan. If you are interested in other Japanese cultures, click the link below.