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Japan: Dogs and Cats Gaining Importance in Children’s Festival

Tokyo: In a centuries-old Japanese festival aimed at ensuring good health and longevity for children, after a record decline in the birth rate, pet dogs and cats are now being given more significance.

According to international news agencies, Japan has a historical tradition at a sacred shrine for special prayers to promote good health and long life for children. Now, people there have started taking their pet dogs and cats to the shrine, performing special rituals for their well-being and longevity.

To accommodate these pet animals in the shrine, a dedicated area was established in 2012 for special rituals for them, known as “Shichi-Go-San,” which translates to “Seven-Five-Three.” Special ceremonies are conducted in November, at the midpoint of the month (15 November), for the health and life of children. Shichi-Go-San is specifically observed for children reaching the ages of three, five, and seven, denoted by the numbers in its name.

Japanese parents bring their sons and daughters to this sacred site dressed in traditional kimonos outfits to perform rituals for their well-being.

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