Last Sunday Mr. J and I went to a nearby shrine to take a walk and look at all the fall foliage, and originally I’d planned to post some of the pictures. However it’s still 7-5-3 (shichi-go-san) season, and there were too many families and kids running around to get very many good shots. So in light of that, I figured why not post about 7-5-3?
7-5-3 is a celebration of children growing and reaching the ages 3, 5, and 7, hence the name. As detailed on the Wikipedia link above, nobles would celebrate these age milestones, and later by the samurai class, who added their own set of rituals to the celebration. By the Meiji Period, even people of lower classes were celebrating 7-5-3.
According to the rituals imposed by the samurai class, boys and girls were required to shave their heads until the age of 3. At the age of 5, boys were allowed to put on a hakama. At age 7, girls were allowed to wear kimono with obi instead of traditional cords. The family would then perform rites or receive the blessing of their local Shinto shrine. Although modern families don’t usually shave the heads of their children in accordance to previous rituals, boys and girls still celebrate turning 3.
In addition to parents celebrating the growth of their children, it’s also become a prime day for dress up and photo opportunity/dressing up in traditional Japanese clothing, some families prefer to dress their children in Western-style suits and dresses. Because of this, despite being traditionally observed on November 15th, in order to coordinate with family or photo studio / traditional wear rental shop appointment availability, you can see children dressing up for their shrine visits and photos anywhere from the end of October until the end of November. Some families even opt to have their children take traditional wear dress up photos in advance, and then later visit the shrine wearing what we would refer to as our Sunday best in the West.
Recently street vendors have started popping up around shrines during this season, giving the celebration a more festive feel.
You have to admit, the kiddos look pretty cute! Just imagine about 50 of them out and about at the shrine, and that’s what visiting during 7-5-3 is like. 🙂
We did catch a couple of shots of the pretty fall colors, though.
And this interesting winter job opportunity:
After our walk around the shrine, we made an afternoon of it with a nice Indian curry lunch, some shopping, and then a nap once we got home. 😉