1/11 is Seijin no Hi: Celebrating Coming of Age All Over Japan
1/11 in Japan is a national holiday. It’s known as “Seijin no Hi” or “Coming of Age Day” and it’s where we celebrate those who have newly turned 20 over the past year (in Japan, you’re legally considered an adult when you’re 20, and can purchase alcohol or cigarettes when you’re 20). 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, and with it are 1.21 million new adults. Ref: Photo
What is the Seijin Ceremony?
On Coming of Age day, the new adults gather at a local event site. This ceremony is called “Seijin-shiki” (“shiki” means ceremony). It’s hosted by the local governing body and attendees listen to stories and good luck speeches from the mayor. When the ceremony’s over, people get together with their friends they’ve known since childhood to drink the alcohol they’re now allowed to have and have fun sharing stories of the past.
The Seijin-shiki is said to originate from the “Genpuku” tradition of the Nara period (710-794 CE). In those days, Genpuku was a coming of age ceremony for boys. It later spread to women too with a lasting custom of Genpuku being the blackening of teeth by maiko (apprentice geisha) in Kyoto.
The new adults wear kimonos
Boys wear suits or hakama. The typical hakama’s black but on Seijin no Hi other than the traditional black, we see a multitude of colors being worn from pink to red and more.
The girls all wear kimono. However, in recent years there have been girls who wear their kimonos like an oiran courtesan. Similar to the boys, they go all out with kimono that’s way flashier than the traditional kimono and fit for a party. You really feel the sense of energy these young people have to stand out more than anyone else.