The first writing of the year

Posted 12/31/19

The Arts Mid-Hudson Folk Arts Program and the Mid-Hudson Japanese Community Association present Kakizome, a Japanese cultural program celebrating the traditional first calligraphy writing of the New …

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The first writing of the year

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The Arts Mid-Hudson Folk Arts Program and the Mid-Hudson Japanese Community Association present Kakizome, a Japanese cultural program celebrating the traditional first calligraphy writing of the New Year, on Saturday, January 4, 2 - 4p.m. at Arts Mid-Hudson, 696 Dutchess Turnpike (Rt. 44), Poughkeepsie. 

The transition to a new year is a time to voice our hopes and desires for the future in the form of resolutions, wishes and other forms of stating our intentions going forward, at least for the next twelve months. The Japanese express their desires with kakizome, the ritualized first calligraphy writing of the year. Kakizome, which translates to “first writing,” takes place within the first few days of the year, traditionally in a poetic calligraphic form expressing their hopes and aspirations for the coming year. The poems were later burned as if to seal the fate of the hope and sending it into the atmosphere. 

The kakizome tradition continues, but these days practitioners write auspicious kanji (Chinese characters) rather than poems. Each guest chooses an idea or sentiment to carry with them into the New Year. For example, if you hope for good health in the New Year, you would write a kanji for positive health; if you desire more patience, you would practice the kanji for tolerance or acceptance. Kakizome is about positive wishes for the New Year. It is a reflective practice based on the belief that practicing one kanji over and over helps the writer focus on the hoped-for theme.

Volunteers from the local Japanese community will be on hand, offering guidance for deciding on and writing your chosen kanji. Brushes, paper, and ink will be provided. This popular program is free and open to the public. Visitors are welcome to come and go any time between 2 and 4 p.m. 

The Mid-Hudson Japanese Community Association (MHJCA) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to introduce Japanese culture to the local community, to foster a sense of community among Japanese residents, and to be a bridge for cultural exchanges between Japanese and non-Japanese residents of the Hudson Valley.

MHJCA educational presentations and language classes are aimed towards children and adults in the Hudson Valley area. The Association frequently collaborates with Arts Mid-Hudson to present interactive programs celebrating Japanese culture.

The Arts Mid-Hudson Folk Arts Program researches the arts and traditions of the region’s rich cultural, ethnic, religious and occupational heritages. Through educational and public programs like Kakizome, the Folk Arts Program shares these traditions. The program is open to ideas and suggestions about how to assist in celebrating your community’s heritage.

Arts Mid-Hudson is the preeminent nonprofit arts service organization serving the Mid-Hudson region. Since 1964 our initiatives have engaged and promoted the arts benefiting our artists, arts organizations and communities. Arts Mid-Hudson provides vision and leadership to support thriving and diverse arts in the Mid-Hudson region.  

For more information about Arts Mid-Hudson and future arts events, sign up for the weekly E-newsletter at artsmidhudson.org. 

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