Furisode, one of the most formal types of kimono, shown here worn by young women at a Coming of Age ceremony
Coming of Age ceremonies are a sight to behold, with many young adults choosing to dress up in traditional attire for the day. Young women wear furisode, a type of formal kimono with long sleeves that drape nearly to the ground! Furisode are like walking works of art, with vivid colors and dazzling patterns. Originally worn by young women to signify that they are of age and unmarried, furisode are nowadays worn for formal events like seijin-shiki and college graduations.
For this special day, most young women will rent a furisode for the day because buying one can cost thousands of dollars! Young women will go all-out on this day with extravagant hairdos to match their furisode. Meanwhile, young men attending these ceremonies can be seen either wearing suits, or traditional men’s kimono called hakama with haori jackets.
Seijin no hi: History and Tradition
The first Coming of Age Day celebration is said to have taken place back in the 8th century when a prince dressed in extravagant robes and cut his hair to show that he was an adult. Since then, the traditions have changed. For example, during the Edo period, young men would start carrying swords to show they were of age, and women would blacken their teeth. Back then, boys were considered adults when they turned fifteen and, for girls, it was thirteen. In 1876, the legal adult age changed to twenty, but that will soon change in 2022 when it will be lowered to eighteen.
At seijin-shiki, there are speeches given by government officials, small gifts handed out, and, of course, lots of photos to be taken since everyone is all dressed up! Afterward, the new adults may visit shrines with their families to pray for luck in the coming years. Others may split off with their friends to enjoy drinks, now that they legally can! Do you know someone attending a Coming of Age ceremony, or just want to say cheers to a friend turning twenty? Surprise them with some Japanese snacks and treats, with our seijin-no-hi-inspired recommendations below!
Candies for Grown-Ups: