Monday, April 22, 2013

Cherry blossom festival

Who doesn't like looking at the beautiful cherry blossoms! They are such a big part of Japanese culture as they celebrate the arrival of spring time and symbolize the extreme beauty and fleeting nature of life (cherry blossoms quickly bloom and die), which comes from Buddhism.

Hanami, which literally means flower viewing, is a popular activity all across Japan. Families and friends will bring a picnic and settle under a fully bloomed cherry blossom tree, spending the day enjoying the weather, eating bento style food and drinking sake. There are also hanami festivals and foods created specifically for this event. Kit kat makes a special cherry blossom green tea flavor only available during that time as well as Starbucks with a special cherry blossom and white chocolate frappuccino. In fact, it is such a popular practice that meteorological agencies track the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front) to alert the population of the arrival of hanami.

Cherry blosson green tea Kit Kat only sold during hanami season.

Nowadays, cherry blossom trees and festival have become popular in the United States and other countries too. You can usually find a hanami festivals where there's a large population of Japanese immigrants, such as CaliforniaNew York City and Washington D.C, which has the largest amount of cherry blossom trees in the country.

Hanami usually happens between March and May, so this is the time to go for a picnic and enjoy the beauty of spring with its bright pink flowers adorning our parks and streets.

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