Practical Wisdom for the Modern World

7 5 3 (shichi go san) ceremony

Japan has the tradition to make a special ceremony for children at the age of 3, 5 or 7 years. This is called the 7-5-3 Matsuri. Around November 15th the children and their parents visit the shinto shrine. Originally it has been an initiation ritual. When babies are born, they still seem to live in the kami-world. Gradually they become conscious of the social world while learning the necessary skills. The awareness of kami-world fades away and becomes part of mythology. By growing up we leave the magical world of childhood. This ceremony, however, ensures that the child will keep in touch with the kami. It means, the child will receive the grace of kami and grow up in health and prosperity.

Outline of the ceremony:

1. Hairei no gi: Ritual of bowing (2 times); clapping hands (2 times) and bowing (1 time). 2. Shubatsu no gi: Purification of the site. The kannushi recites the "misogi" words and waves the "kannusa" (wand with paper streamers).  3. Shichi go san mairi kigan norito: Prayer for the child to grow in prosperity. Acknowledging that we owe all health and happiness to kami, we also express our gratitude for the grace of kami. 4. Tamagushi no hoten: The family dedicates a green sprig to the kami. This ritual expresses the harmony between humans, nature and kami. 5. Hairei no gi: Ritual of bowing (2 times); clapping hands (2 times) and bowing (1 time). 6. Shinshu Haitai: the ceremony finishes with the sharing of the rice wine that has been dedicated previously to kami. The child will receive a candy stick and an omamori, which is a token of the protection by kami. When your son is 3 or 5 years old or your daughter is 3 or 7 years old, you can make an appointment for this ceremony in November. During two weekends we perform a ceremony every half hour. Kindly prepare an envelope with 50 euro as an offering.