One of the most famous, and magical, traditions of Japanese culture is “Hanami”, a flower-viewing celebration bringing together thousands of people every Spring. This tradition of feasting under blooming cherry blossom trees (“Sakura”), is over one thousand years old and incredibly symbolic to the Japanese.
Once a year, “Hanami” unites “mono no aware”, the bittersweet awareness of life’s fleeting moments, and “kachou fuugetsu”, the learning about oneself while experiencing the beauty of nature.
The cherry blossoms, known for their short but breathtaking blooming season, symbolize the transience of life – the fragility and beauty juxtaposed. The blossoms serve as a reminder that life is sweet but short, and reflection upon the impermanence of it is noble in order to evaluate what truly matters. “Sakura” provides the opportunity to revere the beauty of life, to remain in the present with those you love, and to relish the joys of the collective human experience.
While thousands of tourists flock to Japan to witness first hand the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the pleasure in picnicking under the embrace of their fragrance, Hanami’s lessons do not require it. These lessons can be carried with us wherever we are. Have courage to pursue a life worth living, to spend every precious day with people you love, and to enjoy the journey of self discovery as you explore this incredible world. A thousand years of Japanese wisdom will tell you that this, in essence, is the key to happiness in life.