In November, there are special ceremonies to pray for the good health of children turning 7, 5 or 3 in each year, this is known as ‘shichi, go, san’ or 7, 5, 3.
shrine or temple to pray
For boys, there are ceremonies at the ages of 3 and 5 and 3 and 7 for girls, all held on November the 15th.
This is one of our annual customs that takes us to a shrine or temple to pray for prosperity. In the old calendar, the 15th of November was traditionally a day when evil spirits and demons would not roam, therefore everything bring happiness and joy.
In addition, November in the old calendar was the time when the harvest was already completed and people would give thanks to the Gods for the food they have received. This giving of thanks would fall on the 15th which is the full moon of the month and people would give thanks for the growth of their children as well as the harvest.
Children of 3 let their hair grow long, at 5 years old they wear traditional Japanese trousers (hakama) for the first time and at age 7, this changes to a formal kimono outfit with a sash befitting an admit as a rite of passage. In many regions, 7, 5, 3 are viewed as happy occasions which concede with milestones in a child’s development, learning language at 3, growing in intelligence at 5 and giving adult teeth at 7.
七・五・三 formal kimono・・
In modern times, for new, young mothers and fathers, 7, 5, 3 is a time when they consult their parents as to which shops are good for the children’s clothes, which shrines to go to etc. This makes the events a truly special occasion for the whole family.
This is the first time for the children of each family to wear hakama and the first chance for girls to wear make up and go to a shrine.
On the way home, the family will buy special sweets (chitose-ame) and stop at a photograph studio for a commemorative photograph of the day, maybe stopping at a restaurant for dinner last. Of course, the parents are careful not to let their children get their beautiful clothes dirty at dinner.
chitose-ame/restaurant for dinner
All in all, 7, 5, 3 gives us memories that we treats are forever.
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