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2019年3月 5日 (火)

The spirit of "giving a new life" of Japan

I believe all cultures have traditions to cerebrate life-stage milestones. In Japan, Seven, Five and Three-year old ceremony and Coming of Age ceremony are occasions in which parents rejoice in growth of their child, express gratitude and pray for their healthy and safe life ahead. For such auspicious occasion we are dressed in suitable clothing and visit a shrine to be purified as a traditional custom. Red, white and black are considered as colors of repelling evil and used in Furisode for female kimono, and black Montsuki (formal kimono with family crest) for male kimono. As you see the colors in costumes of  Shinto shrine maidens and Buddhist monks, colors have meanings.
Kimono for auspicious occasions has significance in being newly made for the person to celebrate, not passed from a parent or relative. Because when visiting and proceeding in front of the god,  it is proper to be dressed in clothing that has never lost its purity and expresses courtesy to the god.
When welcoming the god of the incoming new year, it is from the same tradition that we change chopsticks and dishes to new ones. In my childhood, we also used to newly prepare underwear in the new year.   
Periodic rebuilding of a shrine also embraces the spirit of "giving a new life" of Japan.

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