💮 Cherry blossoms, or Sakura, are undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and beautiful flowers in the world. Although they can be found in many countries today, their origins are in Asia and they are most famous for their history in Japan. Sakura imagery has been used in poems, stories, and artwork for hundreds if not thousands of years, but what makes them so special. Of course, their gorgeous appearance and cute size add to the aesthetic, but there are many beautiful flowers with similar characteristics. So what makes the cherry blossom so special?
💮 The Phoenix, sunrises, butterflies, snakes, and sakura. What do these all have in common? They are all traditional symbols of renewal. Rebirth. A fresh start. The cycle of life. This is one of the fundamental reasons for the cherry blossom's importance. Here in Japan, the cherry blossoms represent a new beginning. After the winter, with it’s cold weather, short days and long nights, sakura represents the beginning of spring. Warmer weather, more sunlight and nature regaining life after being asleep for so many months.
💮 The fresh feeling of spring is not unique to Japan, but the importance of it has worked its way into the culture here. The most clear example is the school year here in Japan. It begins here in April. Many different countries start their school year at different times, but here in Japan, the school year lines up with the beginning of spring. A fresh start for students, a new year, and nature reflects this feeling with the longer days and blossoming flowers.
💮 The second reason cherry blossoms are so important is their fleeting beauty. Sakura only last 1-2 weeks when they bloom. Their soft and subtle beauty is made that much more special by the fact that it is so short lived. We can all relate to the feeling of a happy moment that is over before we know it, someone leaves our life too soon, or even the saying of “time flies when you’re having fun”. Regardless of what happens in life, whether good or bad, time keeps moving on. Cherry blossoms are a natural embodiment of this idea. They are beautiful. They make the world that was once a dreary winter into a lush pink and white. And then they are gone. It is short lived, but those 1-2 weeks are a beautiful wonderland that we treasure here in Japan while it lasts. When they are gone, we remember what they meant to us and the joy they bring until next year when we can enjoy them again for another new beginning.