Seijin-no Hi, (Coming-of-Age Day) is a national holiday in Japan observed on the second Monday of January. It is intended to commemorate the new adulthood of young people and to encourage them to gain independence. On this day, cities, towns, and villages nationawide hold the Seijin-shiki ceremony (coming-of age ceremony) for those young men and women who have recently turned 20 or will soon do so.
At Seijin-shiki, many participants dress formally in a suit or kimono. In particular, many women wear a special type of kimono with large sleeves called a furisode. In the old days, Seijin-shiki ceremonies were usually solemn affairs, featuring speeches by local dignitaries. As years passed by, however, more local governments turned to informal speeches by celebrities, pop star concerts, and the like. Today, there is much hand-wringing over the fact that many new adults do not know how to behave at the ceremony. Some enjoy chatting during the speech, for instance.
Seijin-shiki is also an occasion for many old friends from the elementary and junior-high-school year to get together. The ceremony thus also functions as a sort of alumni reunion.