Hanami 花見

partying Beneath Cherry blossoms, Isawa  Matabei  1624 - 1644      Cherry blossoms have been a cultural event in Japan for over a thousand years. Hanami (flower viewing) which usually means the cherry blossoms (sakura). From the end of March until about early May, sakura bloom in Japan. Okinawa usually gets the first blooming in February!

forecast      So important is hanami 花見, the weather reports also give a sakura-zensen 桜前線 (cherry blossom front). Because the blossoms are so fleeting, hanami planners carefully take note so they can plan their hanami activities. Outdoor parties and picnics abound everywhere there are cherry trees. There are even yozakura 夜桜 (night sakura) parties. Electric lanterns, lights, and paper lanterns are hung from the trees so the party and hanami can be fully taken advantage of.

hanami 2              hanami

I had my own personal hanami last Friday. At a local shopping area, a whole long line of fully blooming pink sakura drew me out of my car and wandering from one end to the other and back again. The wind had picked up a bit and pink petals were blowing everywhere. I am sure people thought me crazy as I walked, bowed, and laughed. When I returned home, I had pink petals all in my hair, they had drifted down into my blouse and stuck to my slacks.

Cherry blossoms have been a cultural event in Japan for over a thousand years. The cherry blossom holds much symbolism within Japan. According to the Buddhist tradition, the breathtaking but brief beauty of the blossoms symbolizes the transient nature of life; mono no aware 物の哀れ (literally, the pathos of things). In Japan, cherry blossoms also symbolize clouds due to their nature of blooming en masse. The traditional Japanese values of purity and simplicity are thought to be reflected in the form and color of the blossoms. The cherry blossom is also tied with the samurai culture, representing the fleeting nature of the samurai’s life and symbolic of drops of blood.

May the brief and breathtaking beauty of the sakura give you joy and a recognition of that we must be aware of how fragile and precious life is.

 

Kamogawa_hanami[1]     cherry trees

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Beni
    Mar 21, 2013 @ 09:40:20

    I still have your sakura.

    Reply

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