Shichi-go-san [七五三(しちごさん)]

Shichi-go-san[七五三(しちごさん)] is a Japanese ceremony that child visit Jinjya[神社(じんじゃ)](Shintō shrine) on November 15. It is a ceremony for celebrating the growth of children. Girls visit Jinjya when they are 3 & 7 years old and Boys visit that when they are 3 & 5 years old(sometimes, only 5 years old ). Shichi, Go, San means "seven", "five", "three" in Japanese.

Shichi-go-san



The ceremony for three-year-old children is called "Kamioki[髪置(かみおき)]" that derives from the ceremony for finishing a custom to shave childrens' hair(There was a custom to shave childrens' hair until three years old in the Edo Period).

"Hakamagi[袴着(はかまぎ)]" is the ceremony for five-year-old boys. Boys wore Hakama[袴(はかま)](Japanese traditional pants, Boys wear Hakama and a Japanese traditional jacket called "Haori[羽織(はおり)]" on Shichi-go-san) for the first time when they were 5 years old and Hakamagi was a ceremony for celebrating that.

Shichi-go-san


And the ceremony for seven-year-old girls is called "Obitoki[帯解(おびとき)]". Girls wore Obi[帯(おび)](sash for kimono) for the first time when they were 7 years old and Obitoki derives from a ceremony for celebrating that.

When Shichi-go-san, children wear formal clothing and most of them wear Kimono[着物(きもの)](Japanese traditional clothing).

Shichi-go-san



It is said that the origine of Shichi-go-san goes back to the Heian Period(794-1185). At that time, the death rate of infants was very high and Shichi-go-san begun as the ceremony for celebrating them who grew up well. And Shichi-go-san came to be widely done in the Edo Period(1603-1868).

It is said that people begun to celebrate Shichi-go-san on November 15 after the ceremony for praying for a child of Tsunayoshi Tokugawa[徳川綱吉(とくがわつなよし)](He was the fifth Shōgun[将軍(しょうぐん)] of the Edo shogunate.), Tokumatsu[徳松(とくまつ)]'s health was held on November 15 (There are various theories.). Now, many people celebrate Shichi-go-san around October and November.





On Shichi-go-san, long red & white candies called "Chitose-ame[千歳飴(ちとせあめ)]" are given to children. The long candies symbolize healthy growth and longevity and red &white are considered auspicious colors. And Chitose-ame are given in a paper bags and auspicious symbols such as cranes & turtles, and pine, bamboo & plum are drawn on that bag.




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