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Traditions from Around the World:

Birthday Celebrations from Japan

    In Japan a girls 3rd or 7th birthday during the year or a boy who has had his 5th go to the shrine on Novemeber 15th. At the shrine they give thanks to God for their health and strength, and pray for a long life to come. This is due to the fact that a long time ago children died before their 3rd, 5th or 7th birthdays. After they have been to the shrine a family feast is held at their home.

    This ceremony is known as the "7, 5, 3", on this day they wear your best kimono and if you're a girl, a ribbon in your hair. The best thing that might happen is that you can go and buy a special bag of candy with the words "sweets for 1000 years of life" written on them.

    The birthday child wears entirely new clothes to mark the occasion. Certain birthdays are more important than others and these are celebrated with a visit to the local shrine.

    Japanese children used to celebrate their birthdays on January first. Most Japanese children celebrate their birthdays on their true birthdays, today. The birthday child often wears entirely new clothes to mark the occasion which can include a visit to the local shrine.

    In Japan their is a Shinto Festival called Shichi-Go-San, which roughly means "seven-five-three". All three year old children, as well as five year old boys and seven year old girls, are taken to the temple and given special sweets by the priest. Parents are expected to express their joy that their children have reached that age and are bound to praying for their wealth and happiness.

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