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Hanami or flower-viewing party festival in Japan
You know… one thing about oriental countries is how they integrated flora and fauna into their cultural lifestyle – making their culture one of its own kinds. Flower viewing is not only famous in Japan, but China and Korea as well. The concept doesn’t differ much from one another too. Well, in all countries stated above, flower viewing is a leisure event where they watch and cherish the eternal beauty of natural surrounding especially blooming flowers while sitting down listening to music and sipping authentic tea.
I’m quite sure I saw some of those sceneries in some olden days Korean, Chinese and Japanese shows….
Hanami or flower-viewing party has been a custom of the Japanese people since the 7th century, but actually it was an event originally and closely related to algricultural rites. Well, that only make sense because japanese people in the ancient times highly depend on agriculture product as food source, so there many other festivals related to agricultural rites as well.
However, in the ancient times too, most of the big festival parties including Hanami was attended and sponsored by the imperial court and aristocrats. It was quite a luxurious festival where there are few courtesans singing and dancing, and people wearing rather colorful and flamboyant traditional clothing – absolutely something a normal townsfolk can’t afford to come up with. Hanami too became an established custom in the Heian period (794-1185). During the Edo period (1600-1868) the practice of holding annual flower-viewing parties spread among the common people. Besides the sakura, the ume (Japanese plum), fuji (wisteria), kiku (chrysanthemum), and hasu (lotus) are common objects of viewing.
In the modern times, hanami is held in spring where sakura flowers bloom lavishly. It was said that the most popular sakura flower in Japan is called ‘Somei-yoshino’, the kind that is white in color with a dash of pale pink near the stem. Japanese people really celebrate this event; they drink sake, eat fresh made steambuns and dango, and other traditional and modern japanese foods, do barbeque and merely just setting up some sort of what you can call as an open picnic party.
The interesting part is I should say that there are even competitions for the best and popular Hanami spots! But I wouldn’t recommend it if you hate crowded place. Oh yes, there’ll be a whole lot of people during this event. It is said that Kyoto, being one of the many highly historical sites in Japan, is one of the best place to experience Hanami.
Itsuka mitai desu yo ne~~~ I wanna see it someday~~