Friday, December 4, 2009

New Year decorations

Lorna is part of a group at Calum's school which meets regularly to study or make different things. As the end of the year is approaching, December's activity is to be making shimenawa, a traditional New Year decoration which many Japanese use to decorate their homes. However, on checking with two Japanese Christians, it was clear that these decorations are actually Shinto ones (Shinto being a Japanese religion - the way of the gods). It is believed that a god comes to dwell in the shimenawa. Our neighbour in Otaru would not throw these out after New Year but rather took them to the local Shinto shrine to be destroyed, because she saw them as divine. So Lorna had to explain that as a Christian she could not go that event. So much of what is seen as Japanese culture, has such religious significance. Although it may be difficult for us to say no, it is so much harder for Japanese Christians.

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