Japan’s Cutest Festival

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DISCOVER: Japan’s Cutest Festival

Visit Japan in mid-November
and you’re likely to see young boys and girls attending local shrines, dressed head-to-toe
in traditional costume. Officially held on November 15th, Shichi-Go-San, or ‘Seven-Five-Three’ festival serves as a rite of passage for
children across Japan, where boys of three and five, and girls of three and
seven are celebrated and prayed for by their families.

A tradition originating
amongst the noble classes of the Heian Period, Shichi-Go-San was a way of
celebrating children’s progression from infancy to early adulthood, in a time
when infant mortality was high. The ages of three, five and seven were
celebrated in particular due to the numbers being considered auspicious in
Japanese culture, and as children reached each milestone, families would
celebrate and pray for the continued good health of the child.

Today, costume is a central
focus of the celebrations, and families pay special attention to dressing their
children as beautifully presented mini-adults, with boys in traditional hakamas
and girls in kimonos. Portraits are taken and sent to family and friends in
celebration of their child’s coming of age.

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