US $244

Papers – Handmade, Fabriano, card, Optix
Framed Size 640 x 450 mm
What is it?
Hanami means “flower viewing” in Japanese and is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of the sakura (cherry blossom) flowers in springtime. These beautiful flowers only blossom for about two weeks, creating carpets of pink and white when they fall from the trees. Hanami is the festive celebration of picnicking under the Sakura trees, with sake and bentos.
A more ancient form of hanami also exists in Japan, which is enjoying the plum blossoms ume instead. This kind of hanami is popular among older people, because they are calmer events.
Festival Food
Special dishes eaten at Hanami time are dango which are rice cakes on a stick with a sweet sauce. The shops fill with all sorts of cherry blossom flavoured food including: sake, wine, green tea, soba noodles, various Japanese sweets, and Kit Kats!
The practice of hanami is many centuries old. The custom is said to have started during the Nara period (710–794) when it was ume blossoms that people admired in the beginning. But by the Heian period (794–1185), sakura came to attract more attention and hanami became synonymous with sakura.
Emperor Saga of the Heian period adopted this practice, and held flower-viewing parties with sake and feasts underneath the blossoming boughs of sakura trees in the Imperial Court in Kyoto. Sakura were seen as a metaphor for life itself, luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral.
Sakura originally was used to divine that year's harvest as well as announce the rice-planting season. People believed in kami (divine beings ) inside the trees and made offerings. Afterwards, they partook of the offering with sake.
The custom was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but soon spread to samurai society and by the Edo period the common people as well. 
Fun Facts
Thousands of people fill the parks to hold feasts under the flowering trees. Usually people go to the parks to reserve the best places to celebrate hanami many hours or even days before.
The typical Japanese picnic is held on a plastic sheet laid on the ground. Shoes are removed to walk on this sheet, just as they are when entering the home.
The “cherry blossom front” sakura-zensen is forecast each year,. The first cherry blossoms happen in the subtropical southern islands of Okinawa, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, they bloom much later. The television and newspapers closely follow this cherry blossom front, as it slowly moves from South to North. The nightly news shows this forecast along with the weather!
Hanami at night is called yozakura night sakura.
Sakura symbolizes chastity, love, affection, purity, and good luck.

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