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Cool Japan / Shimekazari (注連飾り / Shimane, Yamaguchi)

File:Izumooyashiro89.JPG
(A shimenawa at Izumo Taisha.)

Shimekazari, a New Year’s decoration, in some parts of the Chugoku region often uses red chilies along with shide, a zigzag-shaped paper streamer, and a bitter orange called daidai.
http://nippon-kichi.jp/kichiCnt/img/6976/6976_01_t.jpg 
(Shimekazari (注連飾り / Shimane, Yamaguchi))

Chili has been used as a charm against evil sprits in many regions of the world. In Japan, it is hung over the front door of the house to prevent malicious spirits from entering.
Plants with thorns or a strong smell are also believed to work against evil spirits. In Setsubun, a spring ritual to drive devils away, some regions have the custom of inserting branches of the holly tree and a sardine head in the front door of the house. Shide are also hung to absorb misfortune and danger from the outside.
http://nippon-kichi.jp/kichiCnt/img/6976/6976_02_t.jpg
(Shimekazari (注連飾り / Shimane, Yamaguchi))

The “Shime” of shimekazari means “to occupy” and the shimenawa rope is used to mark the boundary of a sacred area where a God resides and to prevent impurities such as epidemics from entering it. It is also used as a seal to prevent good fortune from leaving the same area
The concept of Shimekazari is said to derive from this creation of a sacred space using the shimenawa.

By TS on Feb 7, 2012
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