January 6, 2010

Decorations for the New Year in Jochi-ji temple

"Shogatsu-kazari" or the New Year's decorations are typically displayed on the both side of the front entrace of a house or place for the first 7 days of January in order to welcome the arrival of "Toshi-gami " (the god of year.)

Toshi-gami is the folk guardian deity which is believed to bring a year of rich harvest and happiness to a house every year.

The pine needles represent the landing spot for inviting Toshi-gami into a house. "Shime-nawa" (straw cord with white papar strips) symbolizes the pure and clean ground for welcoming the deity.

The bamboo, "Robai" and "Manryo", which are typical garden plants of midwinter in Japan, are displayed beautifully as auspices and good luck charms for fulfilling a happy new year.

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