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What do Cherry Blossoms Represent?


As you gather with families and friends every April, under giant soft pink canopies, listening to music and celebrating the Blooming season... 

have you wondered what is the significance of Cherry Blossoms?

 The brilliance, fragility and transience of life

Tied to the Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness and living in the present, Japanese cherry blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence. Blooming season is powerful, glorious and intoxicating, but tragically short-lived — a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting.

Why don’t we marvel at our own passing time on earth with the same joy and passion? Why do we neglect to revel in life when it can end at any moment, or in the grace surrounding us everywhere: our family, friends, a stranger’s smile, a child’s laugh, new flavours on our plate or the scent of green grass? It is time, cherry blossoms remind us, to pay attention.


Sakura are also revered as a symbol of rebirth. Hanami was in fact established as a ritual as early as 710, long before the rise of feudal Japan. Believed to represent the mountain deities that transformed into the gods of rice paddies in Japanese folk religions, cherry blossom trees signified agricultural reproduction. It was during this time the Japanese travelled to the mountains to worship the trees every spring, then transplanted them to inhabited areas.

Sakura have therefore always signalled the beginning of spring, a time of renewal and optimism. With the blooming season coinciding with the beginning of the Japanese calendar year, they also bring hope and new dreams at a time when students start their first day of school and employees their first day of a new job. When cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the future is bursting with possibilities.

When the Japanese gather under the cherry blossom trees every April, they’re admiring the aesthetic attributes of a flower, but also they are seizing the day. They are  commemorating the loss of loved ones and reflecting on their own fragile lives with a sense of wonder while shedding the past to usher in a bright, promising new year.

Ultimately, the meaning of cherry blossoms teaches us all to be present and enjoy beauty in life as it is fragile and fleeting. 

With Love SBNY

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