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Êadomatsu. The New Year's decoration in Japanese 

New Year's Day is designated as one of the national holidays in Japan to celebrate the beginning of the New Year. This day is so important in Japan, because we make a fresh start with wishes for happiness and prosperity throughout the New Year. The Japanese attach a particular importance to the beginning of a year, because a Japanese proverb says, "New Year's Day is the time to make plans for the coming year." Originally the New Year was celebrated to invite the god of the year. 

This very characteristic photograph of Kadomatsu belongs to TEMARI, Center for Asian and Pacific Arts.*

So we have the New Year's decoration for inviting the god of the year. We set it up to welcome our ancestral spirits as well. It is set up on either or both sides of the front entrance of the house. it comprises pine boughs, bamboo stalks and plum-tree sprigs. This is the so-called kadomatsu or the New Year's decoration in Japanese. It is regarded as the residence of the god of the year. You may see the simple new Year's decoration made of only pine branches wrapped with the Japanese paper, which is hung in the center at the top of the house gate. Officially the New year's decoration consists of three bamboo poles with different sizes respectively which are cut diagonally. Plum-tree sprigs, pine boughs and bamboo stalks are combined with the bamboo poles set in the center. They are wrapped with straw mats and tied with the new straw ropes. We set up this New Year's decoration outside homes with the hope that the new year will bring longevity, prosperity and constancy to each member of the family. A majestic evergreen pine tree grows into a tall, towering tree, so it is used as a symbol of longevity. Bamboo is a very strong plant that grows very straight and tall with a sturdy root structure, so it is thought of as a symbol of prosperity. The plum tree is not only neat and clean but also withstands the cold patiently and constantly, so it is considered to be a symbol of constancy.

*TEMARI, Center for Asian and Pacific Arts is non-profit organization. Their Mission is to perpetuate traditional Asian and Pacific culture and encourage the creation of contemporary artforms through educational programs, exhibitions and public events. 

 

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