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Celebrating Cherry Blossoms

Sunny skies of late and unseasonably warm weather have seen trees come into bloom earlier this year.  Spring blossoms almost pass us by without a second thought.  This would never happen in Japan. Over there, it is customary to celebrate trees coming into flower and the season is currently in full swing.  It’s ‘Hanami’ time.

Copyright Urvashi Roe_GBC_hanami-2

Sakura blossoms near my home

Hanami – Flower Viewing

Hanami literally means ‘flower viewing’ and between March and mid-May, millions of Sakura (cherry blossom) and Ume (plum blossom) can be seen all over the Japan.

It is also customary to party and celebrate under the beautiful blooms!  There are ‘Sakura Zensen’ weather forecasts to help people to plan their Hanami parties far in advance.  The parks are packed with revellers who picnic, drink, karaoke and dance.  When I lived in Tokyo we would seek out the best parks and set out our picnic blankets as early as we could to enjoy the biggest blooms.

If you’ve been invited to a Hanami party, it’s customary to take a gift. These vary from delicate individually set cherries in jelly to bread buns with sweet cherry flavoured bean paste centres.

hanami cherry blossom

Lovely Hanami gift of ‘Sakura’ Jelly

This year there were no Hanami parties near me so as the weather was so sunny and lovely, we decided to have our own Hanami party on the local green.  There is a lovely line of pink flowers in bloom.  I baked these Sakura Cupcakes to take along.

cupcake, sakura, hanami, cherry blossom

Sakura Cupcake – click image for recipe

 What do you think about celebrating the arrival of tree blossoms? Does it seem strange or is it something you’d like to embrace? 

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