Spring is the most magical season of them all, because it is the time when Nature reawakens in its full beauty. From green leaves to flowers in every imaginable color, Spring brings back the warmth and hope of a new and better life. There are many remarkable creations of Nature, but few can compare with the fragrance and delicate beauty of the cherry blossom.
Depending on the weather, cherry trees bloom from the middle of March to the beginning of April, keeping their beautiful flowers for only two weeks. Being able to gaze upon a single cherry tree in its full bloom, being surrounded by the gentle sent is enough to calm any restless spirit. Imagine the effect of hundreds or even tens of thousands blooming cherry trees.
Dating back to the 8th century, Japan has a tradition of honoring and enjoying this annual event called hanami or flower viewing. First observed only by the elite class, who would gather under the sakura (cherry) tree. Poets would write their works and nobles held feasts and drank sake to mark the beginning of the rice-planting season. These were the offerings they made to appease the spirits in the trees to help bring a plentiful harvest during the new year.
Today, Japanese still honor this tradition and have feasts under the blooming cherry trees that can be found in every corner of the country, with the most breathtaking location: Mount Yoshino with over 30.000 cherry trees. It is a wonderful tradition that deserves to be experienced once in a lifetime. If you ever decide to visit Japan, do so in Springtime. If you can’t than you can do the next best thing and visit Washington DC every 27th March and enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival.
For now, enjoy these ephemeral images that will give you a small taste of magical place Japan becomes in Spring,
It is no wonder that for Japanese see cherry blossoms as metaphor for the brief but ephemeral beauty of living. That’s what makes them even more precious and to be cherished. Just like life.