Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hanami in Japan

Hanami is a Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, which is cherry blossom (sakura).  Sakura blooms all over Japan from the end of March to early May. Hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or night.

The practice of hanami is many centuries old. The custom is said to have started during the Nara Period (710–794) when it was “ume” blossoms or japanese apricot that people admired in the beginning. But by the Heian Period (794–1185), “sakura“ or cherry blossoms came to attract more attention and hanami was synonymous with sakura. From then on, "flowers" meant "sakura." 

The Japanese people continue the tradition of hanami, gathering in great numbers wherever the flowering trees are found. Thousands of people fill the parks to hold feasts under the flowering trees, and sometimes these parties go on until late at night. In more than half of Japan, the cherry blossoming days come at the same time of the beginning of school and work after vacation, and so welcoming parties are often opened with hanami. Usually, people go to the parks to keep the best places to celebrate hanami with friends, family, and company coworkers many hours.

Well, I just enjoyed the celebration with my co-workers and their families in Tokyo, Japan last 2009.

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