What is Seijin No Hi and why is it celebrated? –

What is Seijin No Hi and why is it celebrated? Japan is an ancient country of traditions that has festivals that are very popular and one of the most celebrated in the family is the Seijin No Hi, related to the coming of age of young people.

Although in Japan the Seijin No Hi is one of its most celebrated festivalsin the western world it is something more unknown or in fact, it is not as popular as the Omisoka, or Japanese New Year’s Eveso we now reveal all its details, its origin and its rituals.

What is Seijin No Hi and what is celebrated

The Seijin No Hi is a day that we can define as the coming of age daywhich is celebrated on second monday in january. a party that marks the symbolic initiation of men and women when they reach adulthood at the age of 20.

After completing the ceremony, Dressed in traditional garb, participants are formally considered adults and they are allowed to legally drink, smoke and vote in public elections.

seijin no hi is one of the oldest traditional Japanese rite of passage ceremonies, but also one of the most evolved throughout the centuries to emphasize changing cultural themes and values, adapting historic ritual to a modern world.

When is Seijin No Hi 2020

On January 15, with the 1948 constitution, Japan decided to institutionalize the entry into adulthood of young Japanese with a national holiday dedicated to this moment and with celebrations linked to the event in the different Japanese prefectures.

As in the year 2000 it was decided to celebrate all the holidays on the first day of the week, the Seijin No Hi is also celebrated on the second Monday in January.so that in 2020 was celebrated on Monday, January 13, and in 2021 it will be celebrated on Monday, January 11.

Origin of Seijin No Hi

The party of Seijin No Hi, was born unofficially in 1876 ​​in the Meiji era, since, before, men were considered adults, according to the Shinto religion, between 10 and 16 years old (Genpuku) and girls between 12 and 16 years old. (Mogi). It was in this period that young people acquired the right to marry and take their name as adults, men could wear masculine clothes and cut their hair to symbolize the moment of this step while women could wear the kimono when they were young.

However, it should be added that Coming-of-age ceremonies have been an important facet of traditional Japanese culture for hundreds of years. As early as the 8th century AD, males between the ages of 15 and 17 from aristocratic families donned a kanmuri ritual headdress at the aforementioned “genpuku” ceremony, marking their initiation into adulthood. In the Edo period (1603-1868), the ceremonial rite of initiation came to encompass both sexes. The boys continued to start adulthood around the age of 15 with the ritual cutting of their locks, while the girls started around the age of 13 accompanied by dyeing their teeth black. Then, as of 1876, as we have mentioned, the festival begins to be celebrated regularly every year, although it is still not considered an official tradition or ritual throughout the country.

It was not until after World War II that the contemporary ceremony was formalized. from Seijin-no-hi ( seijin translates as ‘adult’). Coming of Age Day was created by the National Holidays Act of 1948 as part of a postwar recovery movement aimed at symbolic cultural revival. The original celebration date of January 15 was later changed in 2000, to the second Monday in January.

Seijin No Hi Rituals

The Coming of Age Day is mainly celebrated locally and is sponsored by the government. Corporations, schools, and other community organizations sometimes help organize activities. The ceremony usually consists of a speech of a political official encourage new adults to become productive members of society, along with the awarding of a symbolic gift to mark the event. Subsequently, the young adults disperse to spend time with family and friends or visit religious buildings.

Apart from the ceremony itself, the most visible aspect of Seijin No Hi is the clothes worn by the rookie adults. Traditionally, young men wear new suits, men’s suits similar to those worn by clerks and managers working in Japan and which ultimately young men will also end up wearing on a daily basis when they work. Nevertheless, women are allowed to wear the furisode kimono, which corresponds to the most elaborate and formal kimono worn by single women, characterized by its vibrant color designs and long sleeves. The formality of the Seijin No Hi garments gives an air of importance and anticipation to the celebration that, although quite familiar, is nonetheless one of the most beloved Japanese traditions.

Over time, yes. the party has been adapting and in addition to the rituals or ceremonies mentioned, each prefecture may have other traditions added over the years and in fact, many prefectures add to the main ceremony other celebrations with karaoke, live music or for example the Chiba prefecture hosts the event at Disney World Nippon. Other young people, on the other hand, receive great gifts from their parents, and once the ceremony is over, they can enjoy them. Many of these gifts are usually a trip, so young people make their first trip as adults.

In Europe this tradition does not exist, but could correspond or be compared to the debutante ball, which however involves only the upper class and is rarely mentioned by the media. Another comparison that we can make, for example, is the famous “Quinceañera”, a party of Latin origins that celebrates not coming of age but reaching adolescence.