Our sweet Okinawan neighbor brought over this New Year wreath to our house yesterday. We have spent the better part of the last year with them and several other Okinawa friends, learning the gospel and learning each other’s languages through our Missional Community. It has been a great relationship and they have lavished many gifts on our family this holiday season because of their gratitude.
There is religious significance to this wreath. It is displayed on the front of the house to ward off evil spirits and to welcome good fortune. Like many traditions over the years, it has more cultural meaning now than actual religious attachment. Read more about Japanese New Year traditions here.
Why do we display it? Because our neighbor brought it to us. We consider that a gain. Because God said that we can eat the meat offered to idols.
We also have three ceramic shishis dogs (an okinawan tradition) surrounding our house, which also are there to ward off evil. They came with the house.