The year you turn three in Japan, is a monumental birthday. My daughter just marked three years in January, and we wanted to put our efforts forward in attempt to follow tradition. These are her Shichi-go-san photos, donning a traditional kimono and “dress-up” gown. Shichi-go-san, literally means, 7-5-3, and in the Shinto religion are considered lucky numbers and critical years in a child’s life for health and growth.

*Shichi-go-san is celebrated all over the region on November 15, as families escort their children of 7, 5, and 3 years to a Shinto shrine for a blessing of good health and celebration of life so far. The tradition spans back to the Heian period of Japan (794-1185). The shrine conducts a customary short ceremony, with live percussion’s, a prayer from a priest and a maiden ringing a bell. The parents and extended family pray for health and long life for the children. Afterward the children are given a long stick of candy called, chitose-ame (thousand year candy), for eternal happiness and health.

Shichi-go-san festival does not take place until November, and if we are still in Japan, we hope to do our best Western version of the ceremony. However, we wanted to celebrate the Japanese custom while living in Tokyo and get Maya’s photos taken.

They are so special and a memory we will all have for ever.


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