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Garden State

The kadomatsu, or gate pine, is an arrangement of pine, bamboo, and plum blossom. It’s a traditional decoration for Japanese New Year celebrations that, when placed on either side of a house’s front entrance, wards off evil.

The pine in the arrangement represents strength, longevity, and youthful optimism, while the bamboo symbolizes resilience, uprightness, rapid growth, and filial piety. Though the plant leans in the wind, it doesn’t break. Apricot or plum blossoms stand for steadfastness in adversity, since both plants bloom in the winter seasons. Traditionally, the arrangements are displayed through January 7.

You can make your own kadomatsu on Saturday, December 28, at the Japanese Friendship Garden, 1125 North Third Avenue. Kadomatsu workshops will begin at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. and cost $20 for members or $25 for non-members. All materials are included. To reserve a spot, call 602-256-3204 or visit

Sat., Dec. 28, 10:15 & 11:15 a.m., 2013


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