Featured on the FestiWall this month is a festival that celebrates the youth! With the “Coming of Age Day”, Japan shows the world how to enter the terrific twenties in style! With their newly found freedom and aspirations to boot, the Japanese know just how important entering adulthood is in the life of the youth and they welcome it by celebrating this festival that is perhaps like no other.
The second Monday of January every year.
The coming of age festival
So, what’s the excitement all about?
Twenty is that golden age when the Japanese society starts treating you like an adult. Adulthood brings with it the much-awaited perks like casting your vote and freedoms like drinking and driving legally. The local government bodies celebrate this newly found adulthood of the Japanese youth with the ceremony of “Seijinshiki”. The local government officials address and felicitate the new adults. While this might make it appear to be a serious affair, when the young boys clad in smart, dark suits or kimonos and when the girls decked up in the exquisite “furisode” gather at the local government offices and celebrate the day with excitement, the sight is no less than a treat! Paparazzi are all geared up to capture these celebrities of the day on camera. Girls and boys, who have turned 20 or those who are about to turn 20 during the period of April of the previous year to the April of the current year, participate in this ceremony.
The “Coming of Age Day” starts much earlier for the young boys and girls who are to participate in the ceremony. Since the “Furisode” is a very difficult outfit to wear, families hire professionals to primp up their daughters. Girls look their beautiful best with pretty make-up and hairstyles. The boys, equally thrilled, leave no stone unturned in sprucing up for the ceremony.
How did this festival come to be?
The Coming of Age Day, as it stands today, was inspired by an effort by the leader of Warabi town’s Youth Association to honor and boost the morale of the youth in the post-war phase. Post-war Japan was plagued by depression and hardships. In order to lift the spirits of the youth, a ceremony was organized on the lawns of a school in Warabi town on the 22nd of November 1946. The idea soon inspired other towns to host such ceremonies and the “Coming of Age Day” was officially declared in 1948. The idea has caught on ever since, making the Coming of Age Day a nation-wide festival that is loved and enjoyed by the young and old alike.