Shichi-go-san

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Shichi-go-san | Rite of Passage 7-5-3

Shichi-go-san | Rite of Passage 7-5-3

Shichi-go-san is a traditional rite of passage event in Japan for children, specifically girls aged three and seven and boys the age of five. Shichi-go-san literally translates to "7-5-3". The event is said to have originated in the Heian Period and brought many changes to children who reached those ages. For one, children's heads were shaved but when the child turned three he or she could start to grow their hair out. When a boy turned five he was allowed to wear a hakama for the first time. When a girl turned seven she was allowed to wear a real obi with her kimono, replacing the simple cords.

Chitose-ame

Chitose-ame

Nowadays, due to changes in culture and traditions, these rituals are no longer followed. Today parents take their children of those ages to shrines and get their pictures taken wearing a kimono or hakama. It is also customary to give these children "chitose-ame" (thousand year candy). Chitose-ame are long, thin red and white colored candy. Its length represents the longevity and healthy growth the parents wish upon their children. It is also common for neighbors and relatives to present children of those special ages with chitose-ame as well. These candies are packaged in a bag with a turtle or crane design, both animals which represent long life in Japan.

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