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("7-5-3 Festival"). The custom, observed on November 15, of taking five-year-old boys and seven- or three-year-old girls to the local Shinto shrine to pray for their safe and healthy future. It was originally connected with the belief that children of certain ages were especially prone to bad luck and hence in need of divine protection. A newborn infant was thought of as unformed flesh that gradually took shape as an adult only after a series of ritual observances; at the age of seven the child was finally recognized as a social entity. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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