Thursday, January 5, 2012
For years it was celebrated every January 15th. I know because it is also my father-in-law's birthday. It's called Seijin-no-hi, a Japanese national holiday which honors people who have reached, their twentieth birthday. Twenty is the age of majority in Japan, and anyone who's reached this age is subject to adult laws, gained the right to vote in elections and to partake of adult beverages. According to my mother-in-law, as a result of the holiday falling on the 15th of January for so many years, my father-in-law never grew up. He made it a point to always celebrate his 20th birthday and did so for almost 50 years. You can imagine his dismay when the holiday was officially changed to fall on the second Monday of January!
Women celebrate that day by donning furisode kimono, which are kimono in which the sleeves are much longer when compared to the kimono worn by mature, married women. Kimonos are extremely beautiful and most young woman cannot put on a kimono by themselves. So, they go to a kimono kitsuke who dresses them. They also go to a hair stylist to have their hair set the day before or in the early morning hours on the day of. Kimonos' are made from fine silk and ones worn for formal ceremonies are quite ornate. Many have fine embroidery and it's not uncommon for it to contain genuine gold and silver in the thread. As such, an authentic Japanese kimono can cost as much or more than a new car. Renting of Kimonos' is the norm for most young people.