Coming of Age Day in Japan

Coming of Age Day in Japan

January 11, 2021

Seijin-No-Hi: Coming of Age Day in Japan
 
Seijin-No-Hi (成人の日) is the Coming of Age celebration in Japan, and it is celebrated on the second Monday in January. On this day, all Japanese that turned 20 years old within the past year gather to celebrate. The origin can be traced back hundreds of years. Each year celebrators wear beautiful garments and gather at event halls for a ceremony to commemorate the occasion.  At the ceremony there is usually a public speaker that talks to the new adults and gives them advice on how to succeed and build a better society. Later, the participants receive gifts and gather with friends and family for the remainder of the day. During this time, many people will visit shrines or temples to observe the occasion.
The clothing worn on Seijin-No- Hi is extravagant and expensive. Men wear either Hakama, the traditional male garment in Japan, or the recently more popular, western suit. Women traditionally wear a kimono with long sleeves, called a “furisode” (振り袖). Although now used as a decorative garment, the history of the furisode is quite interesting. In traditional times many young men and women would look for a partner when they celebrated Coming of Age Day. adult. Women who were single and available to marry would wear a furisode instead of a traditional kimono. Furisode literally means “Billowing sleeves” and the long, flowing sleeves were easy to see amongst the crowds. The furisode is extremely expensive, costing, on average $15,000 USD and therefore many families who are lucky enough to be able to buy a furisode are able to pass the garment down to the next generation. Recently though, the pattern of renting the elaborate dress is more common as a furisode can only be worn by an unmarried woman during Seijin-No-Hi.
The modern tradition of meeting with family and friends on this auspicious day is extremely important. Many “new adults” meet with their high school and junior high friends to commemorate the occasion. They meet in large groups and take pictures in their clothes, go out to eat, and also enjoy their first legal drink. The drinking age in Japan is 20 years old so many newly appointed adults enjoy this day thoroughly, partying into all hours of the night. Recently though, this has become a problem, so from 2022 the legal age of becoming an adult will be shifted to the age of 18, so young Japanese can still enjoy the holiday’s tradition, minus the alcohol. Seijin-No-Hi remains one of the most celebrated holidays in Japan, and it has adapted well into the culture of Modern Japanese Life.  



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