Seijin no Hi in Japan
There are many traditional events in January in Japan and the 10th of January was Seijin no Hi (成人の日). Seijin means adult so, Seijin no Hi, known as Coming of Age Day is the day all 20 year-old Japanese young people celebrate to be adults.
Usually each municipal in the regions holds the ceremony and most of people go back to their hometown to attend it. Since the young people tend to leave their hometown and go to bigger cities for study or work, this is in a way a big re-union where they see your friends from childhood or high schools.
It used to be on the 15th of January and was fixed but several years ago, they changed it to the second Monday of January. This celebration is quite new and officially became a bank holiday in 1949.
As far as I heard, the ceremony is boring enough for young ones not to attend. I myself didn´t go, especially my family was always moving around and I never went to local schools and I didn´t have "my local school", I just thought it didn´t make any sense when I can simply get together with my school friends to celebrate.
Mickey Mouse? You may laugh, but do you know how long you have to wait to have a wedding in the Disney Land? And how much does it cost to invite Mickey for 15 minutes to your wedding party?
So I have no doubt many 20 year-old people would come to see Mickey Mouse on the stage.
This is called Haregi (晴れ着). The literal meaning of Hare is sunny day, also means wonderful day and Gi/Ki means clothes. Why a clothes for sunny day? Imagine, a sunny day has a lot of light and you leave the house with a very nice clothe as if you are going out to the lightened stage. So, Haregi means a Kimono for special occasion; Shougatsu, celebrations such as Seijin no Hi.
Haregi, as it´s for cheering occasions, has lots of bright colour and usually with gorgeous drawings. Also the sleeves are very long which is called Oo-furisode (大振り袖/ big sleeves). If I´m not wrong, only unmarried women can wear Oo-furisode and married women wear the ones with shorter sleeves.
My Kimono had especially long sleeves that constantly touching the ground. All day in the street, many, most of them were elder women, came up to me to be careful with the sleeves. When we entered a restaurant for lunch, all the staff ran up to me with lots of towels to cover me up, so that I wouldn´t get any stain on the gorgeous Kimono.
Year, the world treated me like a princess on that day.
You may think that all Japanese women know how to wear Kimono, but well, no, especially these proper Kimono is so complicated to wear by herself. You need to wear at least three or four layear and if you are curvy body, they will stuff you with towels to keep your body in a tube shape. Apparently, Kimono is made for un-curvy body.
By the time you put the last layer Kimono which we usually see, you are all tied up and feel like a robot. On top of it, they will put a thick stiff belt around your stomach, just below your chest. Then, you have to get your hair and a make up done. Since they put so much make up that I thought if I slapped the back of my head, the layer of the make up would come off like a mask.
On the Seijin no Hi, all hair salons are so busy. The girls have to get an appointment for dressing in advance, but months before. Usually people need to get ready by the ceremony at the City Hall so they start working on it like 5 o´clock in the morning.
As I didn´t go to the local celebration, my appointment was late, around midday and I was the last one in the salon, which was relaxing.
Boys also wear Kimono and it´s called Hakama (袴), the one looks like a culotte. If you do Kendo or Aikido, you might be familiar.
Many boys wear just a suit but I really think that it´s sexy boys wearing Hakama, don´t you think?
I´m not sure about this pink one, though.
After the celebration, people go to a shrine to thank. I was told to go to my shrine where my parents took me for Omiya-mairi (お宮参り). Omiya-mairi is the first visit to a shrine when the baby is a month old to thank for being healthy. My parents told me to go back to the same shrine to thank them for my healthy growth.
At the age of 20, you are officially an adult, you can drink, smoke and vote. I know in many countries they celebrate at 18 years old but in Japan, at 20.
How do you celebrate your Seijin no Hi in your country?
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