Shichi-go-san: Festival of 3, 5 and 7 year old kids

Shichi-go-san festival is conducted in Japan on November 15th every year. It is a festive day for kids aged 3,5, and 7 years. This is mostly celebrated by girls aged three or seven years and boys of three and five years old. On this day, kids wear Kimonos(girls), hakama(boys) or other special dresses and visit Shinto shrines with their family. Ujigami, the god of health is worshipped in special prayers conducted on that day.

Odd numbers are considered lucky, which is the reason for celebrating such a festival at the ages of three, five and seven. During the ancient times, traditional wears like Kimono and Hakama were allowed to be worn from the ages of five or seven, which is the reason for Japanese children start wearing these dresses on this special day. Girls will be wearing pink, red, light blue coloured Kimonos on this day, while the Hakama for boys usually are black in colour.

Special candies named ‘Chitose ame’ are given as gits from the shrines. Known as ‘Thousand year candy’, these long candies in red and white colours are given to the children to wish them longevity. The packets of this candies have pictures of turtles, cranes etc. which are considered as the symbols of longevity in Japan. Family and relatives give Goshugi(money gifts) and other gifts to the kids celebrated shichi-go-san.

Source: Geraldford on Flickr

Shrines will be crowded with cute kids in traditional attire who came for prayers with their family. Most of the people will be having professional photographers accompanying them. Memorable photographs of the day will be taken when the children will be appearing in the traditional costumes for the ever first time in their life.

Photo by Calltheambulance on Flickr

Shichi-go-san, like other special life events, is a commercially important event for the studios, restaurants, gift shops etc. Special photoshoot packages will be offered by the studios and photographers during this time. We can see kids in Kimonos posing for the photos at various corners of the shrines on this special day or maybe during the weekends following this day. Kimono and other accessories can be taken for rent during this day, which is a great option for those who don’t want to buy these expensive traditional wear for the small kids for a single day.

Shichi-go-san is a very memorable day in the life of every Japanese kid. So the parents and family will try their best to celebrate it at it’s best.