Showing that we really live in a different age and that Japan is a culture of contrasts, some young women celebrated Seijin no Hi, or “Coming of Age Day”, at Disneyland Tokyo on Monday, wearing the traditional Furoside kimonos while oftentimes furiously texting or browsing on their hi-tech mobile phones.
Seijin no Hi is a national holiday that celebrates the coming of age or transition into adulthood of young people as they step into the age of 20. Now they can vote, legally drink and purchase alcohol and tobacco, and if ever they are arrested for a crime, they will now be tried as adults.
The ceremony was originally a Shinto religious rite for members of samurai families. The boys ceremony, which took place between the ages of 10 and 16, was called Gempuku and they will be given an adult male name and a headdress called Eboshi, denoting their new role in society as adults. The girls ceremony was called Mogi and was held between the ages of 12 and 16. For the first time, they will be allowed to dress as adult females and received a special kimono. During the Edo period, in 1876, they designated the age of 20 as the official age of transition into adulthood. In 1948, the first Coming of Age Day was celebrated and January 15 was the official holiday, until it was changed to the second Monday of every month by 2000.
Nowadays, even if the girls still wear the expensive Furoside kimonos and some boys wear either kimonos as well or suits, the continuing modernization of Japan is evident as the young people opt to celebrate in either amusement parks or in an informal party with their peers instead of the traditional solemn ceremony that is usually followed by a visit to a religious shrine. Even traditions have to keep up with the times.
[ via Daily Mail ]