NY101: Kadomatsu "gate pine"

I figure since I have three boys and they'll soon be on their own, I should actually post some of our mana'o on why we do certain things for special events like New Year's since they won't actually ask. That way when we're gone or when it's their turn to take over, they'll at least know what to do (or not).

New Year's 101 or inside joke ("I show you how!")

The kadomatsu (literally gate pine) is supposed to flank both sides of the entryway of the house for new years and stay up until January 7th. It acts as a temporary housing for the ancestral spirits of the harvest.  We tend to use it as a centerpiece and post the fresh bamboo and pine bunches from farmer's market at the entryway.

What else it means:
  • bamboo symbolizes strength and growth
  • pine is for long life and endurance
  • the bamboo is always bound together in threes to represent heaven, humanity and earth 
  • tallest bamboo is heaven
  • middle is humanity
  • shortest is earth
  • chrysanthemum is not only the symbol for the imperial family of Japan but it symbolizes happiness
  • all our wishes for the new year


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