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Seijin no Hi - Coming of Age Festival

        Seijin no Hi, Coming of Age Day, is the second Monday in January. It is celebrated nation-wide so as to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age 20 (considered majority in Japan, and entitles one to vote, drink and smoke) within the past year, and to mark them officially becoming adults. Not only do the young adults gain new rights, but with those come increased responsibilities of adulthood. Coming of Age ceremonies (seijin-shiki) are held at local and prefectural offices, with parties at home or restaurants
to follow.

        These ceremonies date back to at least 714 AD, when a young prince would change to new robes and hairstyle, signifying his
attaining adulthood. The current holiday started in 1948, originally held on January 15. In 2000, as a result of the Happy Monday System (similar to the US's Monday holiday routine), Coming of Age Day was changed to the second Monday in January. Those celebrating in modern day are those whose 20th birthday falls between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current year.

        Seijin-shiki are generally held in the morning at local city/town or prefecture offices. All young adults meeting the
birthday requirement are invited to attend; there are speeches, and small gifts are presented to the newly-named adults.
Young women generally wear furisode (a style of kimono with long sleeves that drape down) and zōri sandals. The dressing
process is complicated and most young ladies will enlist the aid of a beauty salon to dress and do their hair; the clothing is
usually borrowed or rented (it's very expensive). Young men may wear traditional kimono dress but more commonly a Western suit
and tie (or tux). After the ceremonies, there will be parties.

With thanks to Japan National Tourism Organization; Lonely Planet Japan

Last updated 11/2013 © 1998 - 2014 G. Thompson/PuffinStuff, Inc.