Coming of Age Day Tradition (Seijin no Hi)
In Japan, you are considered a legal adult (drink, vote, smoke) when you are 20. In celebration of becoming an adult, municipal governments hold special ceremonies for all of the people turning 20 that year (April 2nd of the previous year to April 1 of the present year), as adulthood also ushers in the responsibility of paying taxes and other civic duties. Men typically wear suits to their ceremony, whereas woman wear the traditional furisode, a traditional costume that is the most formal they can wear. The furisode is extremely elaborate, and therefore expensive, so most women borrow or rent this outfit. The ceremonies typically happen in the morning, with speeches from local officials and small presents handed out as recognition. Afterwards, many of the youth go out and celebrate with their friends. Unfortunately, like many traditions around the world, participation in these ceremonies have fallen off dramatically in recent years. With an extremely low birth rate, combined with modernization, attendance is half of what it was just 10 years ago.
The Coming of Age tradition in Japan has been around since at least 714AD. The ceremony used to define adulthood for men at around 15 years of age, and for woman at 13. In 1876, the legal adult age was changed to 20. The holiday itself was officially started in 1948.