The Cherry Blossom: A Brief History
Our own Cherry Blossom festival has just launched, so we’re talking all things pink! Get to know everything there is about Japans favourite flower.
Known in Japan as Sakura, the cherry blossom is one of the most photogenic trees in the world. It is recognised as the national flower of Japan so they are a pretty big deal! Not only are they strikingly beautiful but they have deep ties to Japanese culture and definitely worth celebrating. Before you join us for our month long food festival dedicated to the pretty pink flower, let’s get ourselves acquainted with everything there is to know about the mystical cherry blossom tree.
There is much debate about where the cherry blossom tree first originated. While some claim that South Korea has the birthright, it is clear that they hold a special place in Japanese history and culture. According to Huffpost, the cherry blossom tree immigrated to Japan some time several thousand years ago and spread throughout the country before the prehistoric age. And we are sure glad they did!
The cherry blossom holds several different meanings to the people of Japan. In its simplest form, it is of course a symbol for spring, renewal and mother nature. It is also recognised as a symbol for the life of a traditional samurai, that being short and powerful. Some also say that the sakura is a symbol of a women’s beauty. I’ll take that.
While most of us regular folk know the cherry blossom has a very limited blooming season – about 2 weeks which is a bit of a shame really. But what you didn’t know is that there are actaully eleven stages of bloom. Who knew! They are as follows: Budding, bulging bud, flowering, 10%, 30%, 50% and 70% bloom, full bloom, starting to fall, falling, and officially over. As you can appreciate, sakura flower season is a very serious business.
There are many wonderful traditions associated with the cherry blossom in Japan. The most noticeable is the fact that the Japanese school year coincides with cherry blossom season. Beginning in April, a time of heavy blooming, it is said to symbolise a new beginning, a new stage of life. Another quirky fun fact is that every year, there is a blossom forecast predicted, analysed and released to the public by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Hanami is the Japanese custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers. I literally translates to ‘watching blossoms.’ This custom was originally limited to the high rollers of the imperial court, then made its way to the samurai society before coming a tradition of the common folks. Today, hanami involves having a cherry blossom party (um, heck yeh!), enjoying food and drink underneath the cherry blossom tree.
AS you can see, we’re taking it pretty serious this year too with our very own Sakura, Sakura! Festival. Make sure you book in this September to taste your way through our pink pop-up menu. Book here