Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The End of the Year in Japan: Decorations

In Japan, houses are decorated during the end of the year to welcome the New Year. So let's take a look at some of the decorations.

Kadomatsu, decorative bamboo is placed outside entrances and Shimenawa, straw ropes, are hung on doors like Christmas wreaths to bring in good luck.

Shimekazari made of straw, paper, and tangerines, are hung in various places to thank the god of the harvest. The bamboo, pine, and tangerines also symbolize long life, energy, and good fortune.

Kagami mochi is a traditional New Year's decoration made of two round mochi (rice cake) stacked one on top of the other. They are placed in the main room of the house as an offering to the god of the harvest. It serves as a place for the god to rest.

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