The 7-5-3 ceremony

Shichi-Go-San (753) is a Shinto event just after the year’s harvest. They thank Shinto deities for the year’s yields and for the sound growth of children. It dates back 400 years ago to the Edo era. To pray for the children to grow and live long, Chitose-ame candy (pic) is given. Its length represents longevity. Girls who are 7 years old and 3 years old, and boys 5 years old join this celebration, hence 7-5-3, the name of the event.

This is my definition of the event, anyway. Since my son is 5, my daughter 3, both of them joined this celebration this year, I mean, yesterday. We went to the nearby shrine, where lots of families gathered for the same purpose. It was a group prayer where the chief priest read each name of the kids who were present there and said his prayers. (I have to admit that I had no idea what he was saying except my children’s names.) All children must have had a tough time, just sitting on their heels, kneeling on the tatami mat, listening to what they didn’t understand. Was it all for the candy they would get after the ceremony? Well, at least for my daughter, it was.

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