why do Japanese celebrate the Seven-Five-Three festival?

The Seven-Five-Three Festival (Shichigosan), celebrated on November 15 in Japan, is a traditional festival that honors children aged three, five, and seven.

Japanese people celebrate the Shichi-Go-San (literally “Seven-Five-Three”) festival to mark the growth and well-being of young children. This traditional event is held on November 15 to honor children who have reached specific ages that are considered milestones in their development.

– Children aged three (san-byōshi) for girls and five (go-byōshi) for boys are celebrated because these ages were historically considered times when children became susceptible to bad luck and illnesses. Thus, the ceremony is meant to pray for their continued health and prosperity.

– At age seven (shichi-byōshi) for both boys and girls, it is believed that children begin to gain wisdom and understanding. This occasion recognizes their entry into the age of reason and maturity.

The numbers three, five, and seven are considered lucky in Japanese culture. Three symbolizes the growth of children, five signifies the transition from childhood to adulthood, and seven represents the time when children start to study seriously.

During the festival, parents take their children to shrines to offer prayers and thank the gods for their children’s health and growth. The children are dressed in their best traditional clothing, such as kimono, and often carry a special bag called a “chōchin” for offerings.

During the Shichi-Go-San festival, families visit shrines or temples dressed in traditional attire. Boys wear hakama and haori jackets, while girls wear kimono. Parents bring offerings and pray for their children’s health, happiness, and future success. The children receive blessings from the priests and often enjoy sweets or other treats as part of the celebration.

After visiting the shrine, families may enjoy a day out, visit relatives, or have a special meal together. The festival is also an opportunity for parents to teach their children about their cultural heritage and the importance of respecting their ancestors.

This festival is an opportunity for families to appreciate their children’s growth, to reinforce family ties, and to instill cultural values in the younger generation. It’s also a joyous social event where friends and extended family gather to share in the happiness and wish the children well in their future endeavors.

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