The second Monday of January is Coming-of-Age Day, a national holiday to encourage those who have newly entered adulthood to become self-reliant members of society. (The holiday used to be on January 15, but in 2000 it was moved to the second Monday of the month.)
Municipal governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds, since an “adult” in Japan is legally defined as one who is 20 or over. In Japan, the legal smoking and drinking age is 20. But along with these rights come new responsibilities as well, and so age 20 is a big turning point for the Japanese.
These days, males generally wear suits to their coming-of-age ceremony, but a lot of females choose to wear traditional furisode – a special type of kimono for unmarried women with extra-long sleeves and elaborate designs. For unmarried women, furisode is about the most formal thing they can wear, and so many of them don it to the event marking the start of their adult life.
On this day, you will see young people in kimono in your town and you will notice their shining eyes for their bright future.
Omedeto or “Congratulations” will be suitable words for them.
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