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Giving Japanese Kimonos as Gifts

Japan is a country of rich cultural heritage. Their traditions are not simple habits acquired through practice, but are customs stemming from strong historic influences. Hence, traditional Japanese articles are things you should not easily ignore, because in Japanese culture, any single act could be disrespectful to them. To fully respect and honor the Japanese heritage, you must learn a thing or two about their traditions, even in gift-giving their famous Japanese clothing: the kimono.

Before you decide to give them as special gifts to your friends, you must first understand what specific type of kimono would be perfect for the person you’re giving them to.

Occasions for Wearing Kimonos

Before buying a Kimono for a friend, understand first the right kind of kimono that the person would need. Since kimonos are often used for special occasions it is important to also find out what kind of kimono would be good for certain events. The following are certain milestones or events where wearing kimonos is necessary.

1. Birth of a child. In Japanese culture, the birth of a child is considered a milestone. When the child is between 30 to 100 days old, the family visits a certain shrine to commemorate the birth of the child. This is called miyamairi – a traditional rite of passage. The baby’s kimono is dependent on the gender. A girl has to wear a brightly colored velvet dyed kimono, while a boy must wear a black kimono embellished with the family crest.

2. Shichi-Go-San Festival. “Shichi-Go-San” stands for seven-five-three. It is a festival usually held on November 15 or in on any closest weekend. For this occasion, parents dress their children with kimonos and take their 3-year old and 5-year old sons, and 3-year old and 7-year old daughters to a Shinto Shrine to pray to the gods for the good health and growth of their children. These ages are celebrated not only because odd numbers are considered as lucky numbers in Japan but also for other cultural reasons. For instance, the age of three symbolizes the first time that both boys and girls are allowed to grow their hair. The age of five for young boys marks the wearing of his first hakama pants which is usually coupled with a haori jacket, while the age of seven celebrates a young girl’s first obi - a sash. The hakama pants, as well as the sash, are worn over the kimono by the time the children reach these ages.

3. Coming-of-Age Day. It is a Japanese holiday held every second Monday of January to celebrate the “coming of age” of young men and women into adulthood or twenty-years old. For this celebration the young men and women must dress in kimonos. Women usually dress up in a furisode, which is a kimono with long sleeves that flow down their dresses, while the men wear the traditional dark kimono with hakama and haori jacket embedded with the family crest.

4. Weddings. The Japanese also have a traditional garment for wedding ceremonies. A white kimono called shiromuku is worn by the bride with a tsunokakushi, a Japanese wedding headpiece. The white is typically worn by women because it symbolizes the beginning of their life together. The groom on the other hand, wears a black and white kimono with the family crest. It is worn above an underkimono or nagajuban. The groom’s garment also includes a hakama and haori.