Saturday, January 12, 2013

Japan Takes A Day Off for Coming of Age Day [Part 1 of 2]

Excitement is building throughout Japan in anticipation for the rapidly approaching national holiday, Coming of Age Day. Occurring the second Monday in January, this annual celebration is a day filled with rich culture and tradition.

 The significance of this nationally observed holiday is to congratulate and honor all those who have reached twenty years of age, also referred to as the age of majority. Festivals and events honor those who have recently turned twenty and welcome them to adulthood. 

Coming of Age ceremonies are held at local office buildings throughout Japan and after-parties are thrown by friends and family. 

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These ceremonies date all the way back to at least 714 AD. They began when a young prince changed his appearance in order to mark his transition into his twenties. This created a new trend that was made into an official national holiday in 1948.

 It was originally established to be celebrated each year on January 15th. It was not until 2000 that it was changed to become the second Monday in January. Throughout history it was mandatory that all those who attended the Coming of Age ceremonies had to be precisely twenty, but recently it has not been uncommon to find those just shy of twenty years old in attendance. 

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