Shin Mei Spiritual Centre

Shichi-Go-San

It’s fun! It’s festive!
Shichi Go San is a special Shinto ceremony in gratitude for the safe growth and development of children at these ages. And to pray for continuing happiness, health and development.

In mid November, children come to the shrine dressed in their finest clothes. They are the center of attention! Prayers are recited during a special ceremony. Then the children are each given a special gift bag with Omamori, a toy symbolizing long life, and a treat. And of course—photo ops are a must to record this celebration!

What is the history? Shichi Go San originated in the Heian era (8th century) and celebrated children successfully achieving these ages. Infant mortality was high, so reaching the age of 3 was indicative of a strong, sturdy child.

Age 5 was a significant time for young boys—they were then allowed to wear hakama, the traditional clothing for men. And for girls, at age 7 they would wear obi—the wide sash worn with kimono.

Even in modern day, these are significant developmental ages in children. At 3, a child is developing language skills and able to do many more things independently. At 5, independence increases as they begin kindergarten and start to learn more things outside the home. And at 7, their social skills and reasoning make a big leap.

This is an opportunity for the children to be recognized and feel the love of family and community. And aa time for us to offer prayers to the kami for their continued health, protection and growth.

Traditionally, Shichi Go San is for girls age 3 and 7, and for boys ages 3 and 5.