ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Japanese New Year’s arrangements, known as kadomatsu, are on display now through Jan. 9 in the Sasebo Japanese Garden at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden.
The kadomatsu flank the garden gateway and are said to attract beneficial spirits. The plant materials came from the Pacific Northwest. Toru Tanaka, the Sasebo Japanese Garden’s designer, and the Garden staff made the arrangements.
“These arrangements are something you do not see anywhere else in New Mexico,” said Associate Curator Maria Irving. “They look simple, but it takes time and practice to master the art of these precise arrangements.”
The kadomatsu include a trio of bamboo stalks surrounded by soft waves of pine. They are tied together with cord, knotted to symbolize plum blossoms. The bamboo represents strength and flexibility, while the pine symbolizes constancy, vitality and longevity. The plum blossoms represent new beginnings, purity and sweetness.
Kadomatsu is a Shinto tradition dating back more than 600 years. Giant pieces of bamboo were filled with water and sand and placed at doorways in case of fire. The giant house guards have come to symbolize more than fire prevention and are a favorite way of offering good luck for the New Year.
The arrangements are traditionally on display until early Jan. when they are collected and burned, signaling the end of New Year festivities. The BioPark kadomatsu will be displayed until Jan. 9.
The BioPark is an accessible facility and a division of the City of Albuquerque’s Cultural Services Department. Contact the BioPark at 311 locally, (505) 768-2000 (Relay NM or 711) or visit http://www.cabq.gov/biopark.