what do cherry blossoms mean
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What Do Cherry Blossoms Mean? Where Can You Find Them?

When you think of Japan, you probably think of samurai, sake, anime, and ramen. But another word synonymous with the Land of the Rising Sun is cherry blossoms or Sakura.

The word “saku” in Sakura means “to bloom,” an apt name for the pretty pink flowers that come from the cherry blossom trees. Cherry blossoms are delicate flowers that look stunning and seem to hold a lot of mystery. So, what do cherry blossoms mean? Let’s find out.

What Do Cherry Blossoms Mean?

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms, the unofficial national flower of Japan, have different meanings based on how it is used and the country you are in. Take a look at some of the common symbolisms and meanings of cherry blossoms.

#1. Hopefulness and New Beginnings

The cherry blossoms signify the end of winter and the start of spring. It is a symbol of new beginnings, and due to its short and quick blooming season, it is also a representation of life itself — short but beautiful.

Cherry blossoms encourage people to make the most of their life and be the best version of themselves. Watching the beautiful flowers bloom up high on the Sakura trees one week and scattered on the ground the next week can be a more powerful message to make sure you leave a beautiful legacy behind.

In Japan, the Sakura also symbolizes the start of the fiscal year in April. This is also when the children return to school and is the best time for employees to start their new jobs and accept promotions.

#2. The Impermanence of Life

Buddhism places a lot of importance on the beauty of impermanence, and the cherry blossoms represent this belief that everything in life is temporary. Our emotions, situations, events, and even people are impermanent.

Cherry blossoms have a very short lifespan, with their blooms lasting only 10 to 14 days before falling to the ground and withering. It can be seen as an example of how nothing lasts forever, even something as pretty as cherry blossoms. This realization can help you appreciate the present and be more optimistic when facing trying times.

The cherry blossoms can remind you to appreciate the good times more and help you cope during challenging times because everything is temporary, even our problems.

#3. Loyalty to the Emperor

Fallen cherry blossoms also represent the bravery of Japanese samurais who sacrificed their lives for their king. The blossoms on the ground are a beautiful depiction of honorable and loyal souls who put the safety and freedom of their dynasties first. These are men who lived beautiful but short lives like cherry blossoms.

It’s also worth mentioning that aside from samurais, kamikaze pilots would always have Sakura emblems on their planes, a symbol for those who are unafraid to die for the love of their country.

Today, cherry blossoms are no longer associated with war or military purposes, but they still retain their aesthetic values of loyalty and bravery.

#4. Sexuality of Women

In China, cherry blossoms are considered a representation of the delicate beauty of women. But more than the beauty, these flowers are a symbol of women’s ability to dominate using their physical attributes alone.

Like the cherry blossoms that entice people from all walks of life, women can also hold a lot of influence by their mere looks. Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, is an iconic example of this.

#5. Purity and Femininity

In South Korea, cherry blossoms also signify beauty and purity. Because of their delicate nature, cherry blossoms need to be handled with care. So, they’re only to be seen and admired from a distance.

Thus, one can draw a parallel to how women also need to be treated with care and respect. Beauty needs to be appreciated and valued before it withers with time.

#6. Cherry Blossoms Pave the Way to Hanami

Cherry blossoms created a unique custom in Japan — the Hanami Festival, literally translated to flower viewing.

When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, friends and family gather at a picnic-style party, setting their mats under the blossoming trees. Aside from sharing food, drinks, and conversations, this get-together allows the locals to appreciate the people in their lives and be thankful for the life they have.

It also reinforces the meaning of cherry blossoms being a short and well-lived bloom, encouraging people to reflect on how beautiful but short one’s life is.

#7. Friendship and Mutual Trust

Cherry blossoms not also represent war and the death associated with it but also friendship. This is well represented when Japan presented US President William Taft with more than 3,000 cherry trees of 12 varieties as a symbol of friendship. The trees given in 1912 were planted on the White House grounds.

The act of giving was clear and what it represents — friendship and trust between two countries and two allies. US President Taft returned this gesture of friendship in the form of flowering dogwood trees.

Where Can You Find Cherry Blossoms?

Find

When these flowers bloom in spring, locals and foreigners alike have their eyes turned to Japan because of this one-of-a-kind spectacle.

Experiencing cherry blossoms in Japan makes a truly remarkable experience, but cherry blossoms only last for two weeks before withering away. So you have to be sure that your timing is perfect when you visit Japan for its cherry blossoms because it is only intended for a brief experience.

The good news is that you can also admire and have a close encounter with these beautiful flowers in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Brooklyn, New York, Vancouver, Canada, London, England, Edinburgh, Scotland, and Jerte Valley, Spain. Make sure you do your research to find the approximate days or weeks when the trees would blossom before you book your tickets!

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