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December 26 2012

Shimekazari - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Traditional Japanese New Year Decoration, Shimakezari

As I wrote yesterday, the Japanese traditional decorations can bear multiple meanings, each element having its own symbolism. More than this, even the place where the decoration is placed has its own role…

Here’s shimekazari, a small rope made from rice straws, a decoration placed on the exterior of the door or gate, with the same role as the shimenawa from the Shinto shrines - to keep the bad spirits away…

The rope is decorated with a large variety of auspicious items, the most popular being the daidai (Japanese bitter orange), the lobster and the pine twigs. The shimekazari from my photo, taken in Takadanobaba, is a bit special, with a twig of Japanese holly, which symbolizes longevity, because it is green throughout the year. There also an origami crane, which symbolizes long life…

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