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  Wedding Thoughts    

        A frequent question to TalkTemari is what are appropriate colors, symbols and patterns that might be symbolic for a Temari that is to be given as a wedding gift (remember, Temari are historically used as gifts for auspicious occasions, and a wedding certainly comes under this heading). Some collected and researched information from Talk Temari is summarized here, as well as some personal recollections from a group member of her dual-tradition Japanese-Shinto/Christian wedding (which is often a common happening).

       Gift ties and decorations will often include mizuhiki (literally, to draw water), which is a paper cord used for binding up a gift.  The cord is made up of a set of five paper strings stuck together, looking like a stream of water.  Each half of the cord is of different colors.  One of gold and silver is for especially auspicious occasions, such as weddings; one of red and white for ordinary congratulatory and courtesy gifts; one of black and white for funeral offerings.  Ways of tying the cord differ according to the occasion.  Iida in Nagano Prefecture is best known for its production of mizuhiki.

        Early on yuino (engagement or betrothal gifts) will be exchanged between the two families of the prospective bride and bridegroom.  The exchange rite is conducted in a ceremonial way, with the parents of the prospective bridegroom visiting the prospective bride's house.  The gifts brought by the former used to consist of folding fans, casks of rice wine (sake), rolls of kimono fabric, etc.  Today money, wrapped in red and white folded paper tied decoratively with gold and silver strings is usually presented.  In return, a portion of it is used to buy something for the bridegroom.

        These two traditions yield concepts regarding colors, and numbers: Using divisions or multiples of 5, using red and white, using gold and silver, using tassels of red and white or gold and silver (to symbolize the falling "water"), using fans, and rice.  Other auspicious symbols besides chrysanthemums include turtles, cranes, plum blossoms, cherry blossoms. In Japan, as in many western cultures, there are family crests. (Japanese ones are a circle with an abstract line representation of a certain flower in the middle)... a temari that uses both crests, or design elements from both crests would also be appropriate. Suehiro is a fan that symbolizes happiness, and as the fan expands to the end it indicates a better and happy future. Japanese gardens are also thoughtfully planted with trees, shrubs, and flowers that hold symbolic significance in Japan. For example, pine needles stay green all year and grow in pairs, therefore they represent devotion and longevity. Plum blossoms appear early every year, as harbingers of spring and symbols of courage and womanhood. The crane is symbolic because they mate for life.     


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