Kadomatsu arrangements in high demand

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Jan 19 2014 12:19:06 PM HST

Just in time for the new year, those bamboo and pine displays are popping up all over the place. The making of the Kadomatsu is a work of love, with a tradition so ingrained in Hawaii's culture that some see it as a lifestyle.

It is a day to honor tradition and those who keep that tradition alive.

At Ward Warehouse, a Shinto blessing marks the beginning the annual Kadomatsu Demonstration hosted by the Kuhio Lions Club of Honolulu.

Bishop Diaya Amano of the Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawaii is at the helm for a ceremony that involves chanting, bell ringing, clapping and bowing.

He and his assistant priest blessed the Kadomatsu and the crowd.

On Thursday, KITV reporter Lara Yamada caught up with the group gathering the bamboo for the displays on a muddy hill off Tantalus Drive.

On Friday, the cleaned-up group spent the morning cutting it up for hundreds of arrangements already on demand.

"This is the pure form of Kadomatsu," began Rick Hoo of the Kuhio Lions Club.

Master Kadomatsu maker Hoo is a purist himself.

He said the bamboo should be cut in a long, sloping angle, with a joint in between, which symbolizes a separation between the old year and the New Year.

There is also the "small mouth" of the Kadomatsu, or "gate pine," where visiting gods are said to reside.

"Yeah. It's fun. There are little things people are learning all the time," he said.

The Kadomatsu is usually paired with the equally popular "Kagamimochi," or rice pounding tradition.

The resulting mochi and a piece of fruit are common combinations -- as another offering to the gods to up the odds of a prosperous new year.

"If I see it, I'll know what it represents now," said Sacred Hearts Academy student Raelynn Chu, who was one of several students at the Kadomatsu demonstration.

It is a tradition now passing through the New Year into new hands.

"Since we live in Hawaii and there are so many different cultures here, it's nice to know what they mean," she said.

"This is so special. Everybody's learning something new. There’s so much to learn and why we're doing this," said Hoo.

It's considered bad luck to create a Kadomatsu on the 29th, because in Japanese culture, nine means suffering, so 29, means double suffering!

Traditionally, after Jan. 15th, the arrangements are burned to "release" the gods.

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