15th of November is Shichigosan

November 23, 2013 Juju Kurihara Culture, Custom, Vocabulary Tags: 1 Comment

Those who were in Japan last week may have seen lots of Japanese kids in Kimono or Hakama. It was the day of Shichigosan when three, five and seven year-old children celebrate their healthy growth. Shichigosan is actually just numbers in Japanese, 7-5-3. Now most of the babies grow bigger but still this is quite an emotional day for the parents and the family. 

A friend of mine has a big family. She has three children and lives with her parents and her grandfather. Four generations are living in the same house, which you don´t see so often in Japan. Usually the family books a family photo session. Although it ends up with a mess as you may have experienced for a Christmas family photo, at the end it´s becomes a good memory.

DCF00303This was when her eldest son was five and the elder daughter was three. They were so happy that the photo session went a little too far. After some serious shots, they decided to have some fun with the clown costumes. But it was only the parents (my friend and her husband) who thought it was a fun bit. She said the youngest daughter was already grumpy and started crying. 

I guess all the happenings are simply fun for the parents. I remember mine when I was three. The Kimono was so tight and new Zori (sandals for Kimono) were hard to walk on the gravel path in the shrine. Moreover, they put so much gel on my hair to put it up and I felt like I was having a face-lift all the time. 

By the time when we finished the ceremony, I was tired but my father insisted I carried this long paper bag with Chitose Ame (traditional stick candy for Shichigosan) just because I´d look prettier with it. The bag was long enough for a 3-year-old girl to drag and the gravel path looked endless for me. 

Then I had enough. I asked my father to pick me up. He was holding the camera all the time and jut told me "keep walking towards Papa and look at me!" I started to cry but he was smiling and kept taking photos. I think he thought it was sweet. 

Hopeless. I turned to my mother hoping that perhaps she´d pick me up. When I saw my mum, suddenly a group of pigeons began to fly. It became a high wave that would attack my mother. Then I heard a scream and saw my mother running pass by me. Later I knew that she hates birds. But back then I was helpless. None of my parents were going to pick me up. 



See how happy the parents are on the day of Shichigosan?

I think it´s good that Japanese people still keep this custom. 





This is when my friend´s elder daughter was seven. 

And this is the sort of photo the family displays in the living room.  In my house, it´s placed on the piano.





This is when my friend, the mother of these children was seven. 

Her youngest daughter will celebrate Shichigosan next year and she´s planning to put this same Kimono on her daughter. If she does, she´ll have even more emotional day. We need to follow up next year. 




Those who were or are travelling this period in Japan, they are also excited to see so many children in Kimono. Another friend of mine was one of those. He was walking in a park in the middle of Tokyo and bumped into a family. 

He found it so pretty and couldn´t stop taking photos (not a weird way). I suppose if I were in a foreign country and saw children in their very traditional outfit, I´d also take photos.






More Japanese kids event

Seijin no Hi

Momo no Sekku

Kodomo no Hi

Kodomo no Hi(Boys´ Day)

History of Shichigosan

1 Comment

  1. I love this. In my humble opinion, anything that promotes healthy family relationships is a great thing. Thanks for posting about Shichigosan.

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