北の生活文化（The life of Japanese people）
|The life of Japanese people
Ceremonies related to births and child's growth
|48. Rituals to celebrate the growth of a child at the age
of 3, 5 and 7 in Sapporo, 1994
|49. First birthday and a rice cake, 1979
| The ceremonies related to birth begin with a rite employing a pre-delivery obstetrical binder in wishes for an easy delivery. The afterbirth was buried either at the house's entrance area in the hope that the baby would be healthy or in a place without sunshine where people did not usually walk so as to isolate the impurities. The changing procedures employed by midwives gradually altered the approach to delivery. The original sitting position was replaced by the one where the woman is lying on her back which is commonly adopted today.
Ceremonies from the early stages of a child's development include the naming ceremony on the seventh day after birth and having a child carry a big rice cake on its back on its first birthday. Depending upon the region a family lives in, some families will encourage the child to walk while other families will make the child fall, symbolizing and hoping that the child will stay with the family for a longer period of time. On the first Sekku, a seasonal feast, carp streamers and hanging scrolls are offered by the mothers' family, and flag streamers with the emblems of both families are offered following the customs of the family's place of origin. The ceremonies conducted at the ages of 7, 5 and 3 to celebrate the growth of children have become very popular since the 1960s and are carried out in October in Hokkaido, one month ahead of Honshu.
People today celebrate Coming of Age Day when they become 20 years of age, while before the end of the war men eligible for the examination for military conscription were recognized as adults. Similarly, women with rice planting and sawing skills were considered ready for marriage in the pre-war period.
|The life of Japanese people Ceremonies for marriages and funerals|
|50. Marriage ceremony and feast in Otaru, 1930||51. Procession of a bride in Nishioka, Sapporo,
1950s and 1960s
| Ceremonies and rituals related to marriage were conducted following procedures clearly defined in traditional society until the 1950s. The procedures began with a meeting with a view toward marriage, followed by the engagement and a farewell dinner reception given by the bride's family. Following ceremonies included the departure of the bride escorted by the groom, the procession of the bride, the entry of the bride into the groom's house and finally the dinner reception to present the bride. On the day of the wedding, a bride is dressed in a specifically designated manner and the farewell dinner reception was given by her family for their relatives and neighbors. The groom came to her house to escort her to his house and his presence at the reception was symbolic of the kinship he had newly established with her family. Rapid economic growth and improvement of lifestyle helped to convert these ceremonies into one single reception style held after the wedding with the families of both bride and groom gathered together. The weddings in Hokkaido are characterized by dinner receptions for which the guests pay a fee.
Funerals were conducted following various procedures beginning with the chanting of sutras beside the bed, the symbolic washing of the body of the deceased, the placing of the body in the coffin, the holding of the wake, the departure of the coffin from the house, and finally the procession, interment or cremation completed with a memorial service. All of the procedures were carried out by the people in the community until the 1960s when cremation was conducted before the wake and funeral service in some communities and funeral parlors began to become more involved in the funeral rites.
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