Shichi-Go-San, A Japanese Traditional Ceremony at Hie Shrine, Tokyo

essay, Jul. 2019

MONICA

There are many shrines in Tokyo, but Hie Shrine in Nagata-cho is one of the best shrines, and it attracts many people.

In front of torii, the entrance, below the stairs to the shrine, I’ve already encountered two couples of tourists from abroad. Hie Shrine is surely worth visiting from overseas.

As I went up the stairs, it was as if visitors filled the ground. They all seemed serious or to have definite purposes; they did not appear to have come here by chance.

I realized why there were so many people with such focus when I saw families with children wearing kimonos. They all came for “Shichi-Go-San,” a Japanese traditional ceremony to celebrate children’s growth. Boys celebrate at age five, and girls at three and seven.

I visited Hie Shrine on Saturday, so I also saw several families for wedding ceremonies, too.

Young families coming for Shichi-Go-San made me feel happy, but at the same time, I felt a little guilty.

My parents never celebrated my Shichi-Go-San. According to my mother, a farmer, when we celebrated Shichi-Go-San in November, it was also a rice harvest season so we didn’t have time to visit a shrine. So, I didn’t have a chance to wear a beautiful kimono or put on make-up for the first time.

When such a girl becomes a mother, she would celebrate her child’s Shichi-Go-San splendidly, or on the other hand, never care about Shichi-Go-San because she had no good memory.

And I became a mother of the latter; I had no interest in Shichi-Go-San, so I didn’t celebrate my daughter’s Shichi-Go-San when she was three.

However, when my mother-in-law learned of this, she would probably have felt sorry for my daughter. So, she prepared my daughter’s kimono at the age of seven.

She also prepared my daughter and helped her put on her kimono and makeup, so all I did was just go to a shrine with them.

When I saw families celebrating Shichi-Go-San at Hie Shrine, I felt ashamed or guilty because I did not celebrate or prepare my daughter’s.

But, I only felt that for a little bit. That was because I’ve nurtured and supported my daughter’s growth and health at every moment since she was born, even though I didn’t celebrate her Shichi-Go-San much.

If someone asks whether I wish my daughter’s growth and happiness, I will surely say yes proudly aloud.

I think many families celebrate Shichi-Go-San or wedding because Hie Shrine has a good spirituality. Of course, all shrines have it, but especially here, I feel relaxed and refreshed by breathing slowly and deeply.

I feel as if the gods at Hie Shrine would wish: children health, couples happiness, and me luck, warmly and seriously.

Hie Shrine official website

written by

MONICA

Work for kimono company. Love skin care, fashion and bread. Mother of 3 children.

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