Seijin no Hi – A Few Facts About The Japanese Coming of Age Day
'Seijin no Hi' or the the 'Coming of Age Day' is celebrated in Japan every year on the second Monday of January. Celebrations are conducted in every city in which all young people will join together. They will wear traditional Japanese costumes and enjoy the day dressed in these rather than modern garb. It is one of the most important national holidays in Japan.
In ancient Japan, the age of twenty was when the princess wore robes and accepted their new hairstyles. Samurai used to change their names when they turned twenty. Additionally, boys and girls celebrated this event separately. The celebration was known as genpaku for the males on which day the person will attend the prayer of the shrines in their traditional Japanese dressings wearing thick white makeup. On this day, they will change their name and hairstyle to that of an adult. Some wear kammuri, a type of hat worn by some special group of people in ancient Japan. Ladies also wear their traditional dresses and visit shrines on this ceremony, which was then known as mogi. They shave their eyebrows and put thick white makeup with drawn eyebrows. Both the males and females painted their teeth in black during this day.
Legal Adulthood Begins
Twenty years is considered the legal age for drinking, smoking, voting and every other legal procedure. All people turning twenty will be given an invitation to participate in the ceremony held at the city office. Their families also attend this function. The young adults will thereafter join together and enjoy drinking or participate in other entertainments. People visit shrines on this day and some will conduct Seijin shiki (coming of age ceremony) at the family's homes also.
Women will be wearing Japanese traditional kimonos known as furisode and sandals known as zori while men wear business suits. Hakama, a Japanese traditional pant like dress is the traditional dress used by men on this special day, but most men now wear suits.
Since a full set of dressings is really costly, most people now rent it for this special occasion. Beauty salons will be booked by most young people, especially women for doing the makeup on this day.
City office and prefectural offices will hold special ceremonies to recognize the new adults of the area and congratulate them on this special day. This ceremony is considered to be conducted to make the people aware about their responsibilities as an adult. It is the starting point of a new phase in their life. Legally becoming an adult, they are handed over with new responsibilities to the family, society and the nation.
Apart from the birthday celebrations, every individual in Japan can celebrate and enjoy these days as everyone celebrating their adulthood together. It is an opportunity to meet their same age groups from the place they are living. Being a national holiday, young adults can spend this day with their family members and friends. Like Shichi-go-san, Seijin no hi is another important day in a Japanese citizen’s life. We can see many similar festivals and rituals conducted in Japan.