Hello people in Japan! On 8 January 2019 we will celebrate Seijin no Hi or Coming of Age Day! Seijin no Hi is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached or will reach the age of majority between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current year, and to help them realize that they have become adults.
Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan since at least 714 AD, when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle to mark his passage into adulthood. The holiday was first established in 1948, to be held every year on January 15. In 2000, as a result of the Happy Monday System, a set of modifications to Japanese law in 1998 and 2001 to move a number of public holidays in Japan to Mondays, Seijin no Hi was changed to the second Monday in January.
Coming of age ceremonies or Seijin-shiki mark one’s coming of age (age of maturity), which reflects both the expanded rights but also increased responsibilities expected of new adults. The ceremonies are generally held in the morning at local city offices throughout Japan. All young adults who turned or will turn 20 between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current one and who maintain residency in the area are invited to attend. Government officials give speeches, and small presents are handed out to the newly recognized adults.
Many women celebrate this day by wearing furisode, a style of kimono with long sleeves that hang down, and zōri sandals. Men sometimes also wear traditional dress (e.g. dark kimono with hakama), but nowadays many men wear formal Western clothes such as a suit and tie more often than the traditional hakama. After the ceremony, the young adults often celebrate in groups by going to parties or going out drinking.
If you do not celebrate Seijin no Hi, you could still share the spirit by celebrating the young adults in your families and friends as they reach their ages of majority. Throw a small party for them, and tell them that you are proud of them, because you are sure that they will become excellent adults!
What about you? Tell us your favorite Seijin no Hi activity, or share your most memorable Seijin no Hi celebration!