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Seijinshiki (成人式)

Seijinshiki (Coming-of-Age Day) is an annual event, which is dedicated to the nation's young people who attain legal maturity. Seijinshiki covers those who will reach the age of 20 during the current school year. New adults are given some new rights and responsibilities, such as smoking, drinking, voting, marrying without parent's permission, and paying for the National Pension Fund, and generally wreak even more havoc than before.

All young adults are invited to the ceremony held on the second Monday in January at local city offices. Government officials give speeches, and small presents are handed out. However, the new adults often interrupt the ceremonies. They talk on mobile phones and sometimes set off fireworks during the speeches. Festivities include shrine visits, and parties amongst family and friends.

Many young women celebrate this day by wearing furisode, the most formal kimono for unmarried women with extra-long sleeves and elaborate designs. It is worn with a traditional hairstyle and beautiful hair ornaments. Brightly colored kimonos with auspicous Japanese designs like cherry or plum blossoms, butterflies, maple leaves and rivers, can cost thousands of dollars. A full set of formal clothing is expensive, so it is usually either inherited or rented rather than being bought specially for the occasion.

Women spend hours and hundreds of dollars to have their hair made and their kimonos fitted. Colour dyed perm hair and multicoloured shiny nail polish, with a touch of new age makeup contrast much with the furisode and traditional thongs. Furisode kimono literally means swinging sleeves. According to popular myth, young women would swing their sleeves to attract young men's attention.

While men sometimes also wear traditional dress, most men now wear western style suits instead. Some men wear a formal black kimono with five mon (family crests), hakama, and haori (samurai style jacket).



































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