Happy Coming of Age Day!
The second Monday of January in Japan is annually celebrated as the Coming of Age Day or Seijin no hi in Japanese.
This year, the day comes on 14 January when it is time to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority (20 years old) over the past year, as well as to celebrate adulthood.
Reaching the legal age on their 20th birthday entitles the Japanese young people with the right not only to vote, but also to smoke tobacco and purchase alcohol.
Interestingly enough, the festive ceremonies called seijin-shiki, are held in the morning in the local city offices in order to mark the passage to adulthood and encourage the youngsters to become self-reliant members of society.
Seijin-shiki ceremonies have been held in Japan for centuries. Nevertheless, back in time boys became adults at the age of 15, while girls-at 13.
The first time the Coming of Age Day was celebrated was in 1948 when it was decided that 15 January will mark the holiday. Since the year 2000, however, as a result of the modifications brought by the Happy Monday System, it is observed every second Monday of the year.
Generally, the men wear a suit, while the women opt for the traditional, but still a special type of kimono.
Dressed in formal attire and full of joy, the youngsters are preparing to face their new life-the life of an adult. Japanese media reported that at a ceremony on 13 January in Iwate Prefecture, the participants also remembered the friends they had lost in the 2011 tsunami.
The next Coming of Age Day is scheduled for 13 January in 2014.