The Tradition of Hanami - Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan

Cherry blossoms along the Kamo River, Kyoto, Japan
Cherry blossoms in Kyoto Japan, along Kano River

The Tradition of Hanami
When I lived in Kyoto, Japan I was lucky to see Hanami in action.  In Japan, the seasonal blooming of cherry trees is celebrated nationally in an event known as hanami (flower-viewing). 

The practice of hanami is centuries old; it began during the 8th century, when it referred to the viewing of the ume, or plum tree. But  later hanami was synonymous with 'sakura' - cherryand the blossoming of the cherry trees was used to predict the next year's harvest.

Photos of the Hanami in Yokohama


Hanami was a time to perform rituals marking the start of the planting season. These rituals ended with a feast under the cherry trees, and this persists to today.   Starting in late March, television weather reporters give the public daily blossom forecasts, tracking the "cherry blossom front" as it progresses from the south to the north.  Families, coworkers, and friends rely on these to quickly organize hanami parties as the cherry trees begin to bloom locally.


"Hanami -- The traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers. Young people make merry under the sakura (cherry blossoms) late into the evening."  << What a beautiful word - am impressed that words exist to describe the joy in an event.  I hope you all have Hanami and make some merry today :)
Hanami at night


 Parks like Tokyo's famous Ueno Park become crowded with picnickers, and rowdy nighttime revels take on a festival atmosphere. Hanami at night is called yozakura, literally night sakura. In  Ueno Park,  temporary paper lanterns are hung for the purpose of yozakura.



Why the cherry? The delicacy of the sakura blossom has captivated the Japanese for centuries and you can find it in many forms of Japanese art.  But the flower's delicate quality lends it a melancholy air, as well. After the cherry tree's buds open, it's just a few short days before the blooms vanish entirely -- the lovely petals all fall in a spectacular pink flurry. The blossoms' ephemeral beauty adds to its quiet allure.

Sakura in the city
sakura in japanese city







Comments

  1. these are the lovliest flowers and the most epic garden i have seen since a while now! i love the effort you did to put this down for us. this really made my day....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you! I saw the Hanami in bloom in Japan and was wowed by the country's response.

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