Soon, one of the most beautiful seasons and a meaningful Japanese tradition will hit Fukuoka: the annual blossoming of the Sakura cherry tree. This time of the year only lasts around 2 weeks, as the beauty of the Sakura is connected to the fact that it vanishes soon after it blossomed. People all around Japan are celebrating the pink beauty of the cherry tree by gathering in the parks and enjoy the time outside. These celebrations are called Hanami (花見).
More precisely, Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers, referring to those of the cherry trees, Sakura in Japanese. From the end of March to early May, sakura bloom all over Japan, and around the first of February on the island of Okinawa.The blossom forecast, “cherry blossom front” is announced each year by the weather bureau, and is watched carefully by those planning hanami as the blossoms only last a week or two. In modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. Hanami at night is called yozakura,”night sakura”. In many places such as public parks temporary paper lanterns are hung for the purpose of yozakura.
The Japanese people cherish 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 as 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 or even days before.
Of course, our school will celebrate Hanami as well! All of our students are invited to join us on March 26st to watch one of Japan’s most beautiful natural phenomenons!