Hanami- Japanese Cherry Blossom Season
The Japanese Cherry Blossom festival- Hanami is an integral part of the Japanese culture. Every spring the Japanese people turn out to witness the mass colouring of their parks and public spaces, that become white or pink during the cherry blossom season. There are many works of art in Japan, and mentions in literary works in Japan showing the significance of the cherry blossom to Japanese people. It is one of 2 floral emblems of Japan. Each year the Japanese hold festivals to coincide with the bloom of the flowering cherry, known as sakura in Japan.
The hanami is so popular in Japanese society because of the stunning display of flowers it performs while in full bloom. The tree is covered with (white) flowers, and below them is a carpet of white flowers. The sakura are usually planted in mass plantings, transforming an entire area into a blaze of colour. The Japanese have shared their enthusiasm of the flowering cherry by donating trees for mass planting in countries such as the United States and Germany.
The cherry plant is a general grouping of plants, with similar characteristics from the northern hemisphere. It is related to other stone fruit including almonds, plums, apricots and peaches, which have similar flower types and colours. The flowering cherry notably the most popular Japanese variety Somei Yoshino originate from Japan and do not produce fruit. There are some 20 natural species of flowering cherry and many varieties, however in Japan there are around 2,000 cultivars or man made varieties of flowering cherry. The main colours such as the most popular Somei Yoshino are white but can range from white to pink “Kanzan” towards magenta “Kanhizakura”, some start flowering white and change to pink “Fugenzo”, and there are also less popular yellow “Ukon” and green flowering varieties.The sweet and sour cherry the fruiting species/varieties not to be confused with the flwoering cherry are closely related and originate from the area between Britain, Scandinavia, Europe, Turkey and the southern Mediterranean.
Outside of Japan the main source of flowering cherries are through Japanese association with outside countries, however the flowering cherry have species native to Korea and China, where they are also planted in mass plantings. There are cherry blossom festivals, in places like China, Korea, United States, Germany, France, Australia and Brazil. The southern hemisphere season is from August, to November depending on the location
The blooming period in Japan is the northern hemisphere spring. Generally the peak bloom period of any area starts at the beginning of February in Okinawa in the warm south of Japan, and finishes in Sapporo, Hokkaido in the beginning to mid May. Japanese meteorologists are known for the quite precise weather predictions , they also provide a service called the Cherry Blossom Front that tracks the flowering of the sakura, over the country, and when they can be seen from region to region.
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