Since April is drawing near, one of the most popular events ‘hanami’ will be started. As we all know that the ‘hanami’ is a traditional custom in Japan, which mainly refers to enjoying the beauty of sakura. From the end of the March to early May, the period when sakura is blossoming, the Japanese will bring their bento, sit under the sakura tree, and admire the beautiful scenery of blooming sakura. However, do you know why Japanese love Sakura?
The History of ‘Hanami’
Actually, in the very beginning, the ancient tradition ‘hanami’ refers to enjoying the ume. Tracing back to the Nara period, some Japanese diplomats came to Tang in order to learn from Chinese culture. At that time, the Chinese had a special complex of ume. They think it is a symbol of faith and nobleness because it blossoms in the freezing winter. Therefore, when the diplomats went back to Japan, then also brought back the love for ume. However, things became different in Heian Period. Sakura gradually became the most popular flower in Japan.
One day, emperor Saga was attracted by the beauty of sakura when visiting the landlord shrine. He went back and forth for several times in order to see the fascinating sakura once again. Since then, enjoying sakura became more and more popular among the Nobles. According to the rumors, Fujiwara no Teika was tempted by the sakura in Gosho, therefore he intruded into Gosho, broke a branch from the sakura tree and brought it back to home.
Throughout Japanese history, the grandest scale of ‘hanami’ could date back to about 400 years ago. At that time, Toyotomi Hideyoshi fulfilled the unification of the whole country. To express his thankfulness to his wife and concubines, he decided to prepare an extraordinary ‘hanami’. Seven hundred sakura trees were planted in Daigo-Ji, the place he chose to appreciate the sakura. In Edo period, the tradition of ‘hanami’ became increasingly secular and quickly spread among the common people.
Why Japanese People Are so Fond of Sakura
Without a doubt, the first reason is the beauty of sakura. From a distance, it looks like the white cloud, which is soft, pure and fragile. The fantastic look appeals to many people. Also, it is known to all that the fluorescence of sakura is so short that it only lasts for few days. However, it is its shortness that makes it special. As to the Japanese, the short fluorescence of sakura has something in common with the spirit of Bushido. Although both the lives of sakura and Samurai are short, yet they are meaningful, and also beautiful.
So, it’s time for us to appreciate the beauty of sakura. Let’s go hanami!