When cherry blossoms bloom, the Japanese like to picnic under the trees, take pictures and contemplate the flowers. This traditional activity is called Sakura Hanami.
The flower viewing tradition has appeared in Japanese culture for thousands of years due to the respect and celebration of “Mother” nature. In Japanese, “hana” means flower and “mi” means to view, and therefore “hanami” can literally be translated as flower viewing. In history, this custom started from the Nara period (710-794), the Emperor Saga hosted this practice for social gathering purposes. At that time, “ume” – plum blossom was chosen to view. Until Heian period (794-1185), cherry blossom was replaced and caught the eyes of many people. From that time, when using the term “hanami”, it relates to the sakura viewing. In the modern day, the hanami tradition is still preserved by the Japanese people. People usually celebrate hanami with their family, friends, or even colleagues. They go to the parks and find the best places under sakura trees and have parties. Japanese people will spend all day to enjoy this tradition even at night time. Moreover, Hanami at night is called Yozakura.
According to highparknaturecentre.com, in 1959, Toronto received 2,000 cherry trees from Japan as a thank you for accepting re-located Japanese-Canadians following the Second World War. For the Japanese, cherry blossoms symbolize purity and renewal.
Cherry blossoms can open from mid-April to the beginning of May, depending on the weather. They last seven to 15 days. Notices on social media channels and park websites record the first bud’s appearance, peak bloom and final day. Make sure to check them often so that you will not miss this beautiful event!
Where & When
Please check locations’ website for more information.
High Park, Toronto:
1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3
Kariya Park, Misisauga:
3620 Kariya Dr, Mississauga, ON L5B 3J2
U of T’s Robarts Library:
130 St George St, Toronto, ON M5S 1A5
256 Centennial Park Rd, Etobicoke, ON M9C 5N3
By Nhu Le
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