The holiday known as 7-5-3 Day is observed on the 15th of November. It’s also known as Shichi-go-san and is a Japanese festival that’s celebrated for children 3-years, 5-years, and 7-years of age. On this day, parents will take their three and seven-year-old girls or three and five-year-old boys to the local Shinto shrine and pray to Ujigami—the Shinto guardian god of blessed health. There is also a purification rite and the reciting of a Shinto prayer observed on this day.
The History Of 7-5-3 Day
Shichi-Go-San is believed to have originated among court nobles during the Heian Period—sometime between 794 and 1185. It was a day to celebrate the passage of noble children into middle childhood. Why the ages 3, 5, and 7? It’s because odd numbers are believed to be lucky in Asian numerology. This day was also traditionally a day on which people celebrated the survival of their children. This is because historically a large percentage of children wouldn’t make it out of childhood.
As time passed, this tradition passed from the noble classes through the samurai class. This is when several additional rituals were added to the practice. For example, children were allowed to grow their hair out on this day, and boys would wear the hakama for the first time. Eventually, this tradition was passed down to commoners and became the holiday it is to this day.
Observing 7-5-3 Day
Aside from purification rites and the reciting of Shinto prayers on this day, there are also a few other traditions held on this day. One tradition is to give children “Thousand Year Candy” or Chitose Ame. This is a red and white candy that’s long and thin and represents longevity or long life. This candy is usually placed into a bag that contains a symbol of a turtle and crane—two animals that represent long life in Japan. Before it’s placed in that bag, however, it’s wrapped in an edible rice paper that’s thin and clear.