Children nationwide on Wednesday celebrated shichi-go-san, an annual traditional rite of passage for children reaching the ages of 7, 5 and 3.

Traditionally, children in Japan were required to have shaven heads until the age of 3, but thereafter were allowed to grow out their hair. Boys at the age of 5 were allowed to wear hakama for the first time, while girls at the age of 7 were allowed to tie their kimono with traditional obi.

Children traditionally celebrate Shichi-go-san Day by visiting their local shrines dressed in hakama and kimono, eating chitose-ame candies, taking portraits and enjoying dinner with their families.

In recent years, however, families have been celebrating the festival in other ways.

Some children, for example, wear lavish dresses or tuxedos instead of traditional garments, while other families visit amusement parks instead of shrines.

What’s more, some dog owners are celebrating the festival with their beloved pets. Ichigaya Kameoka Hachimangu Shrine in Shinjuku started offering services for dogs nine years ago. The program has proved so popular that dog owners from all over the country have visited the shrine.

Some Twitter users lamented the developments, with @Gletscher_Wings saying, “It’s kind of scary to see how people celebrate shichigosan these days.”

One can only wonder where celebrations will go from here.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.