When Japanese people celebrate “Shichigosan”?
Have you ever heard “Shichigosan”(七五三)?
It’s a traditional festival which was established in 17C according to legend, to celebrate the growth of children.
Shichigosan means three ages that we have a celebration for kids: shichi for seven-year-old girls, go for five-year-old boys and san for three-year-old boys and girls.
From the late October to early November, we often see families with kids in those ages with beautiful festive dresses, in a Japanese shrine.
It’s absolutely a happy scene!
However, for parents who celebrate Shichigosan of their first kid, there are several puzzling problems about the celebration on which many people frequently ask.
This time, I’m going to answer those questions that many Japanese fathers and mothers ask; When we really should celebrate Shichigosan?
In Edo era, there was a custom that children from zero to two years had short hair, and they started to grow their hair from the age three.
Kamiokino-Gi(髪置きの儀) is a celebration for children who were ready to have long hair.
In modern period, many people celebrate both three-year-old boys and girls.
２. Hakamagino-Gi ― for five-year-old boys
Hakamagino-Gi(袴着の儀) is a celebration only for boys whose age is five years.
The age was when boys started to wear Hakama, a men’s formal wear in the past.
The establishment of the celebration dates back to Heian period, and both boys and girls were celebrated at the time.
In Edo period, it became a celebration only for boys.
There are two reason why people of former days celebrated boys earlier than girls.
One is that boys were always regarded as successors and they needed to be adult as soon as possible.
The other is that boys had a lower survival rate than that of girls in the period with low survival rate of children and with poor medical technology.
３. Obitokino-Gi ― for seven-year-old girls
This is a celebration for girls whose age are seven years, when girls started not to wear a thin-string-shaped belt and to wear Obi(帯), a belt for kimono.
Parents feel impressed when they see girls wearing festive dresses which make them look beautiful and as if they become adult.
4. Celebrating in one’s actual age or in one’s year?
It is said that Shichigosan should be done in Kazoedoshi(数え年), one’s three, five or seven year, which means that everyone’s age got old at the first day of the new year, and that your age was one years old when you were born.
This is because that the celebration was based on the old calendar that was used in Edo era.
However, there is not an exact day for celebrating Shichigosan from ancient to modern era, thus it’s nice to choose the day of the celebration in accordance with the growth of kids.
You don’t need to stick to kids’ three, five and seven years.
Just choose the most convenient day for your family.
5. When we celebrate Shichigosan for kids of Hayaumare?
How about kids of Hayaumare(早生まれ), kids who were born between January 1st to April 1st?
Some people say that a family with the kids of Hayaumare should celebrate Shichigosan in Kazoedoshi, but there’s no consensus opinion about it.
Since ancient time, people have thought flexibly about the day they had Shichigosan celebrations.
Both kids and a family may be able to enjoy the celebration in actual age, because kids got bored with celemonies more quickly and started to move and run freely in yonger age.
Again, the most important thing is that a family warmheartedly watch kids’ growth.
How was it?
I hope you enjoy celebrating Shichigosan!
Hope you love it!