It’s a day to celebrate children’s growth.

If you visit Japanese Shinto shrines in November, you’ll be luck as you will probably see children dressed in beautiful kimonos! The parents, grandparents, and family members are out celebrating their children’s growth. This festival is called ‘”7-5-3″, pronounced “shichi -go -san” in Japanese. Many hundreds of years ago, the mortality rate for children was very high in Japan and it was considered a success if families raised their children to the ages of 3, 5, and 7. Nowadays, Shichi-go-san celebrates 5-year-old boys, and 3 and 7-year-old girls every year. Shichi-go-san is celebrated on the 15th of November, but you can actually celebrate it anytime between October and November. You have most chances to see children in kimonos if you go at the shrines on the weekends of November.


The best day for family pictures

Celebration differs in each area of Japan, but people usually visit the shrine in their local community and pray for the continuous health and growth of their children. Families will take beautiful pictures of their children and with the whole family, which they will keep preciously for the rest of their lives. They will often go to the photo studio to have the best pictures possible.


A special candy to live longer

If you see the children leaving the shrine, you’ll commonly see them carrying a long and colorful package. This is called “Chitose-ame” candy and the packaging has very vivid coloring with images of turtles and cranes (symbols of longevity in Japan). The color of the candy itself is white and red, which are lucky colors in Japan and the length of the candy symbolizes hope for the child’s longevity.


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