Japanese flower

Japanese flowers

Flowers such as sakura and chrysanthemums are national symbols of Japan. These have the power to recall strong emotions and are deeply rooted in Asian thought. The Japanese flower par excellence is the cherry tree, also called sakura, but there are many others that hide a particular meaning, such as the chrysanthemums used for the purification of the dead, according to the codified use in the Japanese language of flowers: the “hanakatoba “. In Japan, giving a flower is a common thing for both men and women but, after the Second World War, the Japanese way of thinking became westernized and therefore many local traditions were lost. The young people of Japan almost completely ignore the language of their flowers,

Cherry blossoms are the national flowers of Japan. They are known as “sakura” and are the traditional ceremonial symbols. Thousands of Japanese, every year, migrate to Hanami, a Japanese tradition of enjoying the cherry blossom, which lasts less than a month, from late April to May. That of the Hanami is an ancient tradition and this ritual has been recreated around the world, used as a symbol of inner peace and serenity. In Asian cultures, the Japanese flowering cherryit encompasses many meanings, including those of courage, audacity and wisdom. This flower is basically a symbol of love and joy and it is also thought that sakura makes love blossom in arid hearts and increases spiritual awareness, in fact, for Buddhists the flower is a symbol of reflection.

The meaning

Cherry trees in Japan are highly prized. In samurai culture, admiring the very short flowering of sakura is a must to stimulate spiritual growth. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of simplicity, freshness and innocence. The cherry blossom season coincides with the beginning of the Japanese New Year; the flower therefore marks the beginning of the new school year and the first working day. The intensity of the nuances and the liveliness of its appearance symbolize hope and optimism for the Japanese. Since the flowering period is really short, just under a month, in Japanese culture the sakura is used as a metaphor for mortal life, reminding men that their existence can end at any moment, just like that of the flower.

Japanese flower: The legend

The most famous story about Japanese cherry trees is that of the old man and his dog. Legend has it that an elderly couple lived in poverty in a small house, in front of which stood a sakura. They had a dog that helped them find a treasure at the foot of the tree but, their neighbors, envious of wealth, kidnapped the dog hoping to have the same luck; though this did not happen, they killed him. The old man cremated the body of his faithful friend and placed it under the cherry tree for protection, at that very moment the tree blossomed spontaneously, although it was not the flowering period. The owners were convinced that this wealth derives from the dog and since then it is thought that scattering the ashes of the ancestors on the sakura will extend the life of the family, giving them prosperity and joy.

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