Sadly, COVID puts a damper on the "Hanami" celebrations again in 2021. Government has urged people to limit traditional festivities to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.
Haru, or spring, is time for Sakura and Hanami - Cherry blossoms and Blossom Viewing Parties.
Hana = flower and mi = see. During spring, Hanami parties and cherry blossom festivals are held all over Japan.
Cherry trees are said to have started blooming when there are five or six blossoms on sample trees.
The custom of Cherry Blossom viewing has existed since around the 7th century as aristocrats wrote poems and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. During the Feudal period in Japan, the cherry blossom became a symbol of the Samurai and the code they lived by. At the end of the period, the new
leadership under Emperor Meiji, ordered the cherry trees to be cut down as he wanted no reminder of the old feudal period.
Fortunately, the tradition has returned and is one of the most enjoyable times in Japan.
Hanami in Japan is somewhat like a picnic where people bring food and drink and enjoy chatting with friends, sipping sake, writing poems, singing songs. One of the most popular foods is Dango, a chewy snack food made from rice flour.
There are beautiful cherry trees throughout Japan and the blossoms bloom at different times. People flock to castles, shrines, temples, parks, and local neighborhoods to enjoy the pleasure of Hanami. Two of the most famous places for Hanami in Tokyo are Yoyogi Park and Ueno
The Cherry Trees in Washington, D.C. were given to the
United States by Japan. The trees are different from cherry trees in other countries as they do not yield fruit. There are dozens of species of cherry trees in Japan and usually bloom for a very short period of time. Many say that when the wind blows, it looks as if it is showing. Unfortunately this also means the end of the beautiful blossoms as then float to the ground.
Some additional information.