Shichi Go San (7-5-3)

Shichi Go San (七五三) or 7-5-3 is a tradition rite of passage for Japanese children. It is usually celebrated by 3 and 7-year-old girls, and 5-year-old boys (although 3-year-old boys sometimes take part) in the middle of the month of November (it is traditionally held on the 15th but this day is not a national holiday, so most people choose a Saturday or Sunday close to the 15th of November).

The practice has remained mostly the same since the Meiji period, and children wear a hakama (for boys) or kimono (for girls) for the first time, visit shrines, and are photographed with their families. On the special day, children often receive small gifts as well as Chitose ame (千歳飴) or thousand year candy which is long and thin, to symbolize a long life.

Aiden turned 5 in April, so this year, we celebrated Shichi Go San for the first time. Our family has used the same hakama for Shichi Go San since Aiden`s uncle was 5 years old. It has a long history, and Aiden was the 7th boy to wear it which is really special.

* While some families have their own hakama and kimono, it is an expensive set-up, so in recent years, many people rent them from department stores and even from photo studios.

Aiden`s aunt helped him get dressed in the morning, and then we visited a shrine named Hiraoka Jinja (枚岡神社) in Higashi Osaka. Aiden`s daddy wore a suit and I wore a plain woolen dress. It rained so we had to carry umbrellas and Aiden wore a poncho over his hakama until we got inside the shrine.

At the shrine, we paid a small amount of money to have a priest give Aiden a blessing, and he also received a small gift bag, with a lucky charm, chitose ame and some stationery.

After our visit to the shrine we drove to Tennoji where we visited a photo studio and had some professional shots taken of Aiden in his hakama as well as some family shots too.

Here are some of the pictures I took at the shrine...

It was a really special day, and although Aiden didn`t love the formal dress-up, he enjoyed being the center of the celebration!

Happy shichi go san!

Fran xx


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