Hanami / Sakura Matsuri - Cherry
or cherry blossom, is one of the most cherished flowers in Japan,
despite the Kiku
(chrysanthemum) being the historical national flower. It's safe to
say that Sakura is the unofficial national flower. The Japanese
adore the delicate pink and white of the sakura blossoms and the
whole country pauses in spring for festivals surrounding the trees
blooming. The country begins the "watch" in early March for the
blooms that begin in the south, with weather casters predicting
and following the wave of blossoms as they spread north.
Bursting forth as the wave sweeps north through the county, the
blooms last only one to two weeks, depending on the weather (wind
and rain can do them in quite quickly).
Taking advantage of the
notoriously short-lived beauty, festivals sweep north up
through the country as the trees open. In addition to the
more-than-one-can-count Sakura Matsuri held in cities, towns and
villages, it's common to host or attend Hanami
- Cherry Blossom Viewing parties. People will compete to stake out
the best spots, and then it's a fun time of eating (picnics,
bento, etc.) and socializing while enjoying the spectacular views
the tress offer. As the petals begin to drop, it can be as thick
as a snowfall.
designs are plentiful; whether they are interpreted, implied using
negative space, or freely embroidered, they are a common and
well-loved design inspiration.
A web search for Sakura
will give you many opportunities to see the blossoms throughout