Cherry blossoms that fall within weeks of flowering, while beautiful and short-lived, remind people that, like delicate pink and white flowers, life is short and beautiful.
In addition, the petals of the fallen cherry trees represent the soul of the Japanese samurai, who were known not to fear death and were killed at the emperor’s expense.
There are many more meanings of the cherry blossom, and the Japanese reflect on them each year during a custom called hanami. The word hanami means “vision of flowers.” During a celebration that is more than a thousand years old, people gather to eat, drink and celebrate with a picnic-style feast under the cherry blossoms.
The word sakura continues to be widely associated with musical lyrics, poems, literature, clothing, and restaurants.
What are cherry blossoms like?
Cherry blossoms, also known as sakura in Japan, are the small, delicate pink flowers that cherry blossoms produce. The spring bloom is a lavish spectacle, but remarkably brief; After just two weeks, they fall to the ground and wither, falling like snow with the ebb and flow of the winds. As flowers native to Asia, they can also be found in China, South Korea, and India, but today they enjoy a worldwide bloom.
What do cherry blossom trees mean?
Cherry blossoms have a high status in China as they signify love and feminine mystique – beauty, strength and sexuality – but nowhere in the world are these elusive flowers appreciated more than in Japan, where there are thousands of cherry trees in flower. The floral image permeates Japanese painting, cinema, and poetry.
Every April, families and friends from across the country gather ceremoniously in large groups to celebrate hanami and hold elaborate banquets to music under giant feathery soft pink canopies.
But what exactly do they honor and celebrate?
The brilliance, fragility and transience of life.
Japanese cherry blossoms are associated with the themes of death, care, and life in Buddhism, and are timeless metaphors for human survival. The blooming season is powerful, bright and intoxicating, but tragically short; this is a visual reminder that our lives are short too.
Why don’t we marvel at the time we have spent on earth with the same joy and passion? When life can end at any moment, or in our omnipresent elegance, why not rejoice in life: the smiles of our family, friends, strangers, the laughter of children, new flavors in the dishes or the scented green grass. ? It’s time, Sakura blossoms remind us to pay attention.
In Japanese culture, cherry blossoms date back centuries as the embodiment of beauty and death. No one in history can embody this metaphor better than samurai. They are the samurai of feudal Japan. They live in Bushido (“Samurai Way”), which is a strict moral code of respect, honor and discipline. His duty is not only to embody and preserve these virtues in life, but also to recognize the inevitability of death without fear: in battle, the samurai comes too early. The falling cherry blossoms or petals are believed to symbolize the end of its short life.
During World War II, cherry blossoms took on a similar meaning for Japanese pilots, who painted their kamikaze warplanes with the image of the flower before embarking on suicide missions to “die like beautiful cherry blossom petals falling for the emperor”.
The Sakura no longer embrace each other for military or self-destructive purposes; today they are highly valued for philosophical and aesthetic reasons.
Cherry blossoms are also revered as a symbol of rebirth. In fact, Hanami was established as a ritual as early as 710, long before the rise of feudal Japan. They were believed to represent mountain deities transforming into rice paddy gods in Japanese folk religions, and cherry blossoms signified agricultural reproduction. At this time, the Japanese traveled to the mountains to worship the trees each spring, and then transplanted them to inhabited areas.
Therefore, the sakura have always signaled the beginning of spring, a time of renewal and optimism. As the flowering season coincides with the start of the Japanese calendar year, they also bring hope and new dreams as students start their first day of school and employees their first day of a new job. When cherry blossoms are in bloom, the future is brimming with possibilities.
The Hanami ritual
Flower viewing in Japan is not just a spring event, it is a national pastime with deep cultural and religious roots.
When the Japanese gather under cherry blossoms every April, they don’t just appreciate the aesthetic properties of the flowers. At the glass table full of sake, bento boxes, and mochi, they hurried. They are squeezing the beauty out of life. They cherish the memory of their loved ones, reflect on their precious lives in awe, cast off the past, and welcome a bright and hopeful new year.
Drawing of a cherry blossom
Meaning of getting a cherry blossom tattoo
Cherry blossom tattoos are a metaphor for short life, because they do not have a long life. As the president said in “Memoirs of a Geisha”, standing under a petal and pink flowers, “you have to savor life as much as possible.” In ideal conditions, the trees can flower for up to two weeks, but at their optimum the time only lasts 4 to 7 days. Due to its Buddhist and Shinto foundation, its ephemeral quality is very close to Japanese culture. Living in the present, celebrating life in the most perfect way, but its form and reverence for nature are important aspects to Buddhists and Shinto practitioners, and these concepts have been incorporated into this special flower.