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Get Your Kadomatsu On

Get Your Kadomatsu On

Shintoism holds that watchful gods are enshrined in all things, and kadomatsu are essentially formal invitations for kind toshigami to enter a home.

BY JUANI HOPWOOD

ABQ BioPark hosts Kadomatsu workshops in the Sasebo Japanese Garden from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, starting Friday, Dec. 18. Kadomatsu – which translates as “gate pine” – are arboreal arrangements created in celebration of the Japanese New Year. In a 600-year-old tradition, kadomatsu are placed in pairs flanking the entrance to houses to attract toshigami, protective ancestral spirits that bestow abundance and happiness on families.

Shintoism holds that watchful gods are enshrined in all things, and kadomatsu are essentially formal invitations for kind toshigami to enter a home. They also serve as temporary housing for the honored deities; toshigami won’t visit if kadomatsu aren’t present.

In its structural makeup, pine represents longevity, bamboo stands for prosperity and ume tree sprigs represent steadfastness. Three central bamboo shoots positioned at different heights are bound with woven straw. The tallest represents heaven, the middle shoot represents humanity and the shortest stands in for Earth. Finished arrangements will welcome toshigami into the Japanese Garden through Sunday, Jan. 17, when kadomatsu are burned to appease and release toshigami.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18 (THROUGH SUNDAY, JANUARY 17)
Kadomatsu in the Japanese Garden
All day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., workshop included with admission
ABQ BioPark, 2601 Central NW, 768-2000, cabq.gov/culturalservices/biopark/events/kadomatsu

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Juani Hopwood is Online Editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach her at juani@freeabq.com.

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Lex Voytek is a nervous wreck and reading quiets the noise. Reach her at books@freeabq.com.