Monday, 29 March 2010

Hanami: Flower viewing

In this season, all Japanese people are starting to talk about cherry blossom and Hanami at work and with friends.
Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms. From late March to early May, Cherry blossoms bloom all over Japan. In modern-day Japan, Hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the cherry blossoms during daytime or at night. Most of the younger student in university or youngest employees at work, they are usually stay orvernight (sometimes days) to keep best site in the park for other friends and bosses. You can see those peoples with sleeping bags and card games sitting lonley on picnic seat, any where under the cherry blossom tree in this season in Japan.

The practice of Hanami is many centuries old. The custom is said to have started during the Nara Period (710–794) when the Chinese Tang Dynasty influenced Japan in many ways; one of which was the custom of enjoying flowers. Though it was plum blossoms that people admired in the beginning, by the Heian Period, sakura came to attract more attention.
Cherry blossom originally was used to divine that year's harvest as well as an announcer of the rice-planting season. People believed in gods' existence inside the trees and made offerings at the root of Cherry blossom trees. Afterwards, they partook of the offering with sake.

Under the sakura trees, people had lunch and drank sake in cheerful feasts.

Today, 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.

The Japanese people continue the tradition of hanami by taking part in the processional walks through the parks. This is a form of retreat for contemplating and renewing their spirits.

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