Immediately after December 25, the Christmas ornaments are packed and the traditional Japanese decorations take their place, for Shogatsu, the Japanese New Year, the most important celebration in Japan.
But unlike the Christmas decorations, which are packed to be reused, the Shogatsu decorations must be new. Not only because most of them are made of natural materials like bamboo, pine twigs or rice straws, but also because they symbolize breaking with the past and the desire to move forward, to progress.
The shimekazari is a rice-straw rope decorated with auspicious items. Connected to the Shinto ritual of changing the shimenawa sacred straw rope on the New Year’s eve, it also symbolizes entering the New Year with renewed protection, because shimenawa keeps the bad spirits away.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: