Shichigosan, literally “7-5-3”, is a rite of passage in Japan for children. It’s celebrated in November at different ages for boys and girls: Boys – 3 & 5 years of age, Girls – 3 & 7 years of age.
Three common explanations are given for why these ages are celebrated. The first is that these numbers are simply considered lucky years according to Japanese numerology.
The second is that these were traditionally the ages that children were given a kimono. Kimono are expensive and buying one for a child was considered a milestone on the road to adulthood.
The third explanation is that children were once expected to have their heads shaven until the age of three. Shichigosan was a day to celebrate the day a child could begin to grow their hair.
In modern times, most parents in Japan consider Shichigosan a generally auspicious day for children. It’s a day to wish for their health and happiness. Children are given good luck charms and a special type of candy that symbolizes health, growth and longevity. It’s also common for families to have their photo taken at a photo studio around this time.