Blossom: The Nation Flower of Japan | Flower Profile

Blossom

In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit trees (genus Prunus) and of some other plants with a similar appearance that flower profusely for a period of time in spring.Colloquially, flowers of orange are referred to as such as well. Peach blossoms (including nectarine), most cherry blossoms, and some almond blossoms are usually pink. Plum blossoms, apple blossoms, orange blossoms, some cherry blossoms, and most almond blossoms are white.


They are widely distributed, especially in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere including Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mainland China, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Thailand and West Siberia. Along with the chrysanthemum, the cherry blossom is considered the national flower of Japan.

All varieties of cherry blossom trees produce small, unpalatable fruit or edible cherries. Edible cherries generally come from cultivars of the related species Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus.


Symbol

In Japan, cherry blossom trees, called “sakura,” are held with the highest esteem. The ceremonial receptions, known as Hanami, are generally excursions where people gather to ponder the transient nature of life and mortality, since cherry blossoms are known for maintaining a short lifespan. This concept ties in with Buddhist ideals concerning the nature of life.

 In addition, the samurai culture of Japan also held great admiration for the flower since samurais (like the cherry blossom) were considered to have relatively short life spans and also because they believed the flower represented drops of blood. Nowadays, the flower represents innocence, simplicity and spring.


Culture

During this season in Japan, people like to have cherry blossom parties with colleagues, friends, and family. A cherry blossom makes people merry. They enjoy eating, drinking, and barbecuing underneath the cherry blossoms. We call this custom Hanami. Hanami literally means “watching blossoms,” and the tradition can be traced back at least a thousand years. We bring cooked meals, alcohol, snacks, and sweets, like a potluck party. Schools and offices hold welcome parties during Hanami, a chance for people to bond and meet new friends.


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