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Yakudoshi – the Unlucky Ages


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Almost everybody knows that Japanese people believe in unlucky numbers, but few know that in the Japanese tradition there are also unlucky ages.


Called Yakudoshi [厄年], the unlucky ages first appeared in the Heian period and it is a firmly held custom of belief in Japan.


The unlucky years are believed to vary depending on a persons’s gender. So, for men 25, 42, 61 are unlucky, while 19, 33, 37 are the unlucy ages for women. The worst of the worst are age 42 for men and 33 for women.


It is believed that at these ages people would feel misfortunate and that they shouldn’t take any important decisions.


The Shinto shrines and the Buddhist temples do perform however purification rituals to help people deal with Yakudoshi.


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