Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kanreki, Turning 60, Japanese tradition, Celebrations

Celebrations and rituals are important and ever evolving as people's needs arise. Special times in life guide me when thinking of design for my jewelry. We've had a lot of family, friends and favorite rock idols turn 60 recently and I've been researching different ways of commemorating age.

Kanreki, return to the calendar, is the celebration of a person's 60th birthday which is a great celebration in Japan. According to the lunar calendar, it takes 60 years for a person to finish a cycle on this earth. In a 60-year cycle the honoree has gone five times around the twelve animal years of the Chinese zodiac. It marks a person's rebirth and return to second childhood. The cycle of life returns to the beginning.

The honoree usually wears a red hat and vest. Their wearing red symbolizes their rebirth, as babies usually wear red in Japan. And thus they are embarking on the next 60-year cycle. The honoree sits in a place of honor during a celebration usually hosted by his or her family and friends which may include a special meal and meaningful gifts.

Beyond the Kanreki, other birthdays are celebrated. At ages 70 (koki), 77 (kiju), 80 (sanju), 88 (beiju), 90 (sotsuju), and 99 (hakuju).

The 88th birthday, Beiju, is popular because the Japanese characters for "88" when written together, resemble the character for rice or bei. We took my father-in-law out to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants for his 88th birthday and they told us about this. It's also referred to as the rice year.

Many of our friends and family who are turning 60 these days are Baby Boomers. We may look to create a more contemporary ceremony, one for our time, our place and circumstances. How about gifts?

What will the honoree wear? Fun to make it traditional but put an individual twist on the proceedings. Think about the birthday person. Are they dating? The head of a big family? Make the party about them.

A red outfit, shirt or dress will work. Something special, an old favorite, maybe something new. Dresses by designers such as Kiyonna her Vivienne Cinch Dress, will flatter any figure. You can find just the shade of red to go with your complexion.

Regardless of season, a nice gift is a pashmina, maybe a silk wrap, particularly a red one. If a vacation or retirement is anywhere on the horizon, you can use it as a coverup on the beach. There are many uses in travel. During cooler months use it as a wrap or a scarf. There are many options in silk, cashmere and more.

Junior's® Red Velvet Cheesecakeicon Founded in 1950 in New York, Junior's® created The World's Most Fabulous Cheesecake. This Red Velvet cheesecake is Kosher, serves 12 and can be delivered. What a treat! Check it out. Yum.

Image, top: Kimono Shop KYO-YA

1 comment:

  1. today i am 60.....so i will celebrate my birthday with friends and family, and tell them of the great Chinese and Japanese traditions....the re-birth.

    ReplyDelete

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