Shichi-Go-San, or 7-5-3, is a celebration to mark the growth of children as boys turn three and five years of age, and as girls turn three and seven.
Families celebrate with a visit to a shrine to pray for the child’s health and good fortune. Little girls are dressed in kimono. At three years of age the girls will also wear a padded vest (hifu). At seven years of age they often wear 3 or 4 layers of underwear, 6 sashes and a special obi, which looks like a butterfly to tie the kimono. They will wear Japanese socks (tabi), sandals (zori) and carry a matching bag. Little boys are dressed in pants (hakama) and jackets (haori).
Traditionally the children are given a long, thin, red and white candy (Chitose-ame which means ‘thousand-year candy’). It comes in a long bag decorated with illustrations of elderly people with grey hair, trees such as pine, bamboo and plums. The candy and the bag are both expressions of parents’ wish that their children lead long and prosperous lives.
The kimonos, haori and hakama are displayed in the Piazza and all the children are invited to try them on.
Please visit our ELC photos at the top right corner of our blog page for more 7-5-3 photos of the children.