The Seven-Five-Three Festival  (shichi go san)

In Japan, people have celebrated the various stages of their lives with special events, since old times.  During the current season of festivals, I would like to introduce you to The Seven-Five-Three Festival which celebrates the growth of children.

This festival is an annual event, which will be celebrated on November 15th this year.  Boys of three and five years old, and girls of three and seven years old, visit a local Shinto shrine to give thanks for their sound development; and to pray for their health and happiness in the future.

In the old days, infants were considered as “children of god” due to the high rate of infant mortality.  The celebration for the seven-year-olds is particularly significant, as it used to be said that children could become members of the community at this age.

An essential item for this festival is what is called Chitoseame candy, which is a symbol of good health and growth.  The children are given one piece of the candy for each year of their lives for longevity. 

In previous times, the children’s ages were counted in Kazoedoshi, the Japanese traditional way of counting ages.  In the Kazoedoshi system, children were considered as one year old at birth, and added another year on each New Year’s Day

Whether you have children or not, please consider visiting a shrine during this traditional Japanese event.  If you have children of the celebrated ages, you can participate in the festival for the sake of your children’s happiness.  If you don’t have any children of these ages, you’ll still be able to observe this traditional Japanese custom.

This information has been brought to you by  (               ),  from the Aichi International Association.