All worldly things are transitory…
During the short spring period when cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, Japanese people enjoy the tradition of Hanami, which translates directly as ‘flower viewing’. People gather together for food and festivities to enjoy the delicate sight of cherry blossoms, celebrating the fleeting beauty of life.
Dating back to the Nara era (710 – 794), New Year came around in spring, and cherry blossoms blooming marked the beginning of the spring planting season. Blooming cherry blossoms were a favourable sign that the gods were coming from the mountains to the village, so ancient farmers would pray, make offerings and have a feast, believing that cherry blossom trees would bring a full harvest from the appreciative visiting gods from the mountains.
The feast under the cherry blossom tree was similar to a religious ceremony during these times and it slowly changed into a festival for enjoying cherry blossoms, with the flower becoming a national image to the Japanese.
The Hanami season symbolises a fresh start, with cherry blossoms blooming for just one or two weeks at most. The impermanence of the captivating flowering is synonymous with the transience and fragility of life, teaching us to savour the subtleties and make the most of our precious time. Hanami is a time of love, offering, celebration and gratitude.
Next time you feel down think of the beauty of cherry blossoms and revel in the fact that we are all here together in this transient world. We should all take notes from the concept of Hanami and celebrate the beauty of life with each other wholeheartedly.