Kadomatsu first appeared as a new year's tradition in Japan's Edo period more than 700 years ago. The first kadomatsu were filled with sand and water, which could be used to extinguish fires in an emergency. Over time, these useful arrangements became auspicious symbols to be placed outside a door's threshold to capture good spirits.
"The display's three elements attract good spirits and represent a good luck trait for the coming year," said Maria Thomas, BioPark Garden Assistant Curator. "Bamboo carries strength, pine embodies longevity, and plum blossom instills purity and hope."
On Dec. 22 at 2p.m. at the gates of the Japanese Garden, Thomas will discuss the origins of kadomatsu and demonstrate how to make them, including showing bamboo cuts, tying the plum blossom knot, and folding the shide or zig-zag paper. While supplies last, guests will be able to make a small hanging kadomatsu arrangement to take home.
After the New Year begins, the kadomatsu are burned in a ceremony to release the spirits and carry the homeowner's prayers of good luck to the heavens. BioPark staff will remove and burn their arrangements on January 7, sending along wishes for a vibrant and beautiful Botanic Garden in 2013.