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Shichi-Go-San (七五三 seven-five-three) is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three and seven year-old girls and three and five year-old boys, held annually on November 15.
Shichi-Go-San is said to have originated in the Heian Period amongst court nobles who would celebrate the passage of their children into middle childhood. The ages three, five and seven are consistent with Japanese numerology, which dictates that odd numbers are lucky. The practice was set to the fifteenth of the month during the Kamakura Period.
Over time, this tradition passed to the samurai class who added a
number of rituals. Children—who up until the age of three were
required by custom to have shaven heads—were allowed to grow out their
hair. Boys of age five could wear hakama for the first time, while
girls of age seven replaced the simple cords they used to tie their
kimono with the traditional obi. By the Meiji Period, the practice was
adopted amongst commoners as well, and included the modern ritual of
visiting a shrine to drive out evil spirits and wish for a long