Sunday Feature By Meghna Roy
Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival
Japan is known around the world for its cherry blossom festivals. Known as Hanami in Japanese, cherry blossom festivals are an important custom and are held all over Japan during spring.
Hanami is the ancient tradition of going to enjoy the blooming of cherry blossoms (Sakura) and sometimes plum blossoms (ume) in parks and throughout the countryside in Japan. The most popular kind of Japanese cherry tree, Sakura can be found all over the country. These trees are also called somei-yoshino trees or yedoensis in botanical circles.
Hanami literally means “viewing flowers” but it generally indicates cherry blossom viewing. Its said that the origin of hanami dates back more than 1000 years to when aristocrats enjoyed looking at beautiful cherry blossoms and wrote poems inspired by them.
Because cherry blossoms are beautiful and fleeting- the blooms often last no more than two weeks-they have become symbolic of impermanence of beauty.
Gorgeous flowers are the main attraction at the cherry blossom festivals but there are a variety of traditional Japanese performances presented during these festivals.