May - August 2015
In the religious ceremonies of the Japanese in the eighth century in the period of Nara appeared the custom of worshiping deities hidden in trees. This custom was adopted by the Japanese court elites as a hana no en "flower feast", which has survived to this day as hanami. The emperor Saga especially liked this feast, arranging in the gardens of his palace in Kyoto full of flowering reception trees, where he combined drinking sake with admiring the beauty of flowers. Initially, the Japanese admired the Japanese apricot flowers (prunus mume), and only with time, in the Heian period, cherry - sakura. Japanese cherry trees are an ornamental plant, they do not bear fruit. Their flowers develop in a few days to scatter the area after a week. These few days usually falling on the turn of March and April is probably the most important time in a life, probably for every Japanese and the whole of Japan. It is the time of sakura, time of flowering cherry, time awaited throughout the year. In the media, information from the front line of cherry blossoming is the first and the most anticipated information, like from the front lines of war operations. This is the most hectic time of the year for most Japanese. In March, the billing period ends, the annual economic cycle closes - all financial liabilities must be finalized, budgets closed. After this period, there is a sudden turn - a wave of sakura comes like a tsunami. The Japanese are going from an extreme tension state to extreme relaxing. During the day, parks, gardens, squares and even cemeteries are filled with crowds of Japanese, who sit comfortably on mats and foils in the shade of branches of blossomed cherries, spreading food baskets and sake barrels. Contemplation is accompanied by the creation and recitation of haiku - poems talking about the essence of sakura, expressing the short-lived drama of passing beauty, referring this drama to the transience of life.