What if Cinderella dressed up in her finery only to discover, last minute, that the ball was canceled? This year, thousands of real-life Cinderellas are hoping COVID-19 won’t dash their dreams of morphing into fairy tale princesses for their seijinshiki (coming-of-age ceremony) on Jan. 11. My daughter is among them.

In a country where formal ceremonies and shared experiences are an important part of youth culture, canceling feels unthinkable. “My friends and I have looked forward to our seijinshiki for years. I can’t imagine not doing it,” says Arisa Takamori, a second-year university student from Chiba Prefecture.

Seijin no Hi (Coming of Age Day) celebrates those who have turned 20, becoming adults in the eyes of the Japanese law, and is marked by an annual public holiday on the second Monday in January. This year’s Coming of Age Day covers anyone reaching this milestone birthday between April 2, 2020 and April 1, 2021.