November 15 is the day for celebrating children’s growth in Japan.
“Shichi-Go-San” literally means seven-five-three. Boys and girls aged three, boys aged five, girls aged seven visit a shrine with their parents and relatives. Children wear the Japanese traditional clothes for that day: most girls wear “Kimono,” long robes, and boys put on “Haori” jackets and “Hakama” trousers. But nowadays some children wear the western style dresses and suits.
The surviving rate of children was quite low in the past, and Japanese considered that ‘babies are precious stones.’ The aristocrats and samurai families started to celebrate the infants’ wellness in the Middle Ages. This custom spread out throughout Japan in Meiji period (1868-191) and at that time the celebrating date was depending on the areas.
Since Edo period (1603-1868), November 15 was chosen and the current style was established. The ceremony of the age is following.
Parents buy “Chitose Ame” at a shrine for children. It is a long shaped candy with red and white colors. “Chitose” means one thousand year in Japanese and the combination of red and white is traditionally regarded as auspicious. The bag is printed cranes and turtles on, which are symbolised as long lived animals. The families give these candies with relatives and neighbours to share the pleasure for their children.
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