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Traditional Japanese New Year's Decoration - The Kodamatsu

Traditional Japanese New Year's Decoration - The Kodamatsu

Kodamatsu is a decoration with three cut pieces of bamboo and pine for the Japanese New Year’s holiday. Throughout Japan, beautifully decorated bamboo stalks are usually placed in pairs in front of homes or shops to welcome ancestral spirits. 

Even though there are some variations, a typical kadomatsu usually includes the following elements.

Pine tree - The word “kadomatsu” in the Japanese language includes the kanji character for pine tree (“matsu”), so pine is the principal plant used in the decoration.

Bamboo - The bamboo is the most appealing in the decoration. It is said that the people believed bamboo was suitable to wish the troubles of life away because it always grows straight towards the sky.

Plum flowers and flowering kale

Plum flowers and flowering kale are often used as adornments both of which have fortunate meanings. As plum flowers bloom early in the year, during the relatively cold period, the flower is thought of as a strong and durable plant. The flowering kale layering its leaves is interpreted as adding more and more fortune.

All of these elements represents longevity, prosperity and steadfastness, respectively.


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