Most traditional Japanese clothing changes based upon the weather and the season. Thicker kimonos are worn in the colder months with winter inspired patterns and designs. In the summer, kimonos feature brighter colors and thinner fabrics. However, there are also several times during childhood and as a young adult when a Japanese child wears specific kimono color or design based upon traditional festivals and celebrations.
Omiyamairi – Infant’s First Visit to the Shrine
This represents the baby’s first visit to the shrine, and typically occurs before the child is 100 days old. This is a religious ceremony which serves to thank the gods for a safe delivery and to ask the local gods to accept the baby as part of the local community. During this ceremony, babies typically wear a white under kimono, often decorated with lace. Some also add a brightly colored outer kimono for girls and a black kimono with the family crest for boys.
Held in November, this is a festival and rite of passage for three and seven year old girls and five year old boys to celebrate good health and thank the local deities for protecting the children. Children are dresses in a traditional kimono, many for the first time in their lives. Little girls often wear a lightly padded vest, as well. Today, some children instead wear formal Western wear.
Seijin-no-Hi (Coming of Age Day)
At the age of 20, young adults of both genders celebrate their coming of age. At this point, they are considered adults and contributing members of Japanese society. Held in January, this marks the passage into adulthood for Japanese young adults and is also the legal age for drinking, smoking, and voting. Dressed in their finest traditional Japanese wear, young adults visit shrines, receive gifts, and celebrate with family and friends. For the occasion, boys often wear a haori and hakama emblazoned with their family crests. Girls wear furisode, a traditional kimono with long, flowing sleeves.