In Japan, once the New Year celebrations are over, the traditional decorations are removed, and unlike other ornaments, they are not preserved for the next year. But they aren’t thrown away either, because the Japanese New Year decorations are in fact amulets… Thus, Kagamimochi are broken in pieces and cooked according to a ritual called Kagami Biraki, while Shimekazari and Kadomatsu are to be burned, together with other good luck charms (such as Daruma Dolls), in a ritual fire called Dondo-Yaki.
Dondo-Yaki is a festival with a complex spiritual meaning, because the burning of the amulets symbolizes breaking up with the past and the desire to move forward and to progress. At the same time, it is an opportunity for having a good time, because after the fire ends, delicious mochi rice cakes are cooked on the embers…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: