Hanging above is a shimenawa, a sacred rope of straw (often decorated with an orange or tangerine and konbu) that is usually hung over the front door
to mark the temporary abode of the Toshi-Gami (Diety of the incoming year) and help prevent malevolent spirits from entering the house. The orange
or tangerine represents the sun and is thought to have the ability to absorb evil spirits. Typically, the shimenawa faces the northwest. I'm not sure why
but it likely has some relation to movement of the spirits. Shimenawa is a shortening or contraction of the word Shirikume-nawa.

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Mick McClary P.O. Box 6245, Great Falls, Montana 59406