Introduction to Shichigosan
Shichigosan is a rite-of-passage ceremony for children ages 3, 5, and 7 celebrated on November 15th every year . The name itself literally translates to seven-five-three. This holiday is meant to celebrate the growth, health, and wellbeing of children. Nowadays, mostly only boys ages 3 and 5 and girls ages 3 and 7 are celebrated on this day. In Japan, children ages 3, 5, and 7 go to a shrine dressed in kimono with their family. In the United States, children of those ages will often participate in a personal or family photo shoot in kimono to commemorate the holiday. Chitose ame, which translates to thousand year candy, is a long, thin, red and white cylindrical candy meant to symbolize healthy growth and longevity that is given to children on Shichigosan.
Girls of all three ages wear furisode, however three year old girls wear a padded vest called hifu with their kimono. Boys usually wear haori over their kimono. Girls are first allowed to wear an obi at the age of 7, and boys are allowed to wear hakama at the age of 5, so usually 7-year-old girls and 5-year-old boys will wear these articles of clothing during Shichigosan. Cranes and turtles are signs of longevity and wellbeing, so they are often used as motifs in the patterns or designs of ceremonial Shichigosan kimono, haori, etc.
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