November 15 Marks the Joyful Shinto tradition of ShichiGoSan

Shinto (“the way of the gods”) is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people, dating back to the 6th century. November marks one of the most endearing traditions in the Shinto calendar, Shichi Go San (7 5 3). Long before modern medicine, when survival of young children was often precarious, the Japanese believed that “until seven years old, children are in the gods’ domain“ , During the era of the samurai, children would have their heads shaved at birth. On reaching 3 years of age on 7-5-3 day they celebrated “kamioki” which meant they were finally allowed to grow their hair. On November 15th, both boys and girls who are 3 years old will make their first debut at their local shrine wearing traditional Japanese clothes. Upon reaching the age of 5, young boys wear the traditional hakama pants for the first time, and at age 7, girls first adorn the traditional obi sash. Each event is marked by colorful parades of children trekking to the local shrines arrayed in traditional garb, where the parents celebrate with prayer for their child’s continued good health. The site of thousands of little children dressed to the hilt, clutching the hands of their proud and happy parents, is sure to bring a smile to all observers.