Giving a branch of a flowering cherry tree indicated admirable polite behavior, according to the nineteenth-century Anglo-Saxon meaning of the Victorian era while, in China, it still refers to beauty and female sexuality. In Japanese symbolism it embodies a message of good luck, happiness, affection, love, but also of transience due to the shortness of the life cycle of these delicate and fragile flowers with a radiant beauty destined to fade within two weeks at the most. year.
The complex multitude of meanings of the Cherry Blossom Japanese is connected to the precariousness of Cherry blossoms as a metaphor of ephemeral duration by nature and of human mortality. Precisely in this meaning the existence of the samurai in classical iconography is reflected: represented in the grandeur of his figure wearing armor - of extreme beauty like a Cherry Blossom - all of a sudden, however, it can be crushed by the enemy, perhaps only with a sword blow. The warrior's life ended so prematurely, but with honor, refers to the petals that fall to the ground during a sudden storm like drops of blood which, according to a Japanese legend, would have colored the cherry blossom of the trees at the foot of which they were colored in pale pink. traditionally buried the bodies of samurai. The cherry blossom tattoo was reserved exclusively for these imperial guards, which later remained a symbol of all martial arts.
The overlapping of the ancient concept of 'mono no aware', that is, being aware and a little regretful of the transitory passing of life, was of Buddhist influence.
For all these symbolisms, in Japan the image of Cherry blossoms it is the most recurrent, from cultural human activities - art, manga, cinematography, music - to consumer goods (kimonos, furnishings, furnishings, stationery). The flowers are also dried to be prepared in hot herbal tea on special occasions.
The representation of the cherry blossom was also used to fuel patriotic sentiment among the Japanese during the Second World War: the Japanese pilots took them with them on missions and the suicide bombers wanted one painted on the side of their plane before the last one. suicidal flight. Symbol of the intensity and transience of life like the fleeting petals, the young aviators sacrificed their lives by sacrificing themselves in war in honor of the emperor. Thus the soldiers fell on the battlefield in no particular order like cherry blossom petals carried by the wind and - according to a popular belief supported by the government - their souls were reincarnated in these.
In the 'Land of the Rising Sun', the cherry blossom - national, but unofficial - better reflects the historical-cultural tradition, so much so that there are 200 Japanese varieties that do not produce fruit, but are only ornamental, with white flowers tinged with pink pale or intense pink, in some cases even larger or with many petals. They are planted everywhere - public parks, historic sites, river banks, schoolyards, etc. - to be able to admire the 'cherry blossoms' ('Sakura') while walking.
In the secular Japanese tradition, the 'Cherry Blossom Festival' consisted of going to the parks to contemplate the cherry trees 'in bloom' ('Hanami') seated below, chatting with friends, enlivened by traditional music and dances. The popular custom of celebrating the natural beauty of this blossoming and the start of the new season continues today, with picnics and songs.
Cherry blossom, reported in Japan with local weather reports, begins in January in Okinawa, between late March and early April occurs in Kyoto and Tokyo, and a few weeks later in Hokkaidō. On this occasion, the festivals are innumerable, but the greatest quantity of cherry trees is present on Mount Yoshino (100,000 trees), near Nara, in Maruyama Park (6,000) in Kyoto, and in Ueno Park (1,500), in Tokyo. Here, in 1964, the 'Cherry Blossoms' association was also founded on purpose to protect existing trees and encourage their spread all over the world.
The 'Cherry Blossom Festival', organized every spring in many parks around the world, attract a multitude of visitors. Vancouver, Canada, boasts thousands of these trees - donated by Japan in 1959 and 2001 - placed on numerous streets and parks. The same giving took place in the United States, specifically in New York (Sakura Park in Manhattan), Washington (West Potomac Park) and Philadelphia (Fairmount Park), but the largest amount of cherry trees in the nation is in Macon, Georgia. , where it exceeds 300,000, and in Newark, in Branch Brook Park (1895) - awarded as a Historic Place in the Registers of New Jersey and the nation - with over 5,000, in at least 14 different varieties.
The 'Cherry Blossom Festival' is also very popular in South Korea. In Seoul, the cherry trees planted by the Japanese at Gyeongbok Palace were felled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the surrender of the Tokyo government in World War II. In fact, imperial Japan used to plant these trees on an area in an occupied territory during colonial exploits to officially claim ownership.
In the Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Garden, in Istanbul (Turkey), 587 cherry trees were planted in memory of the 587 soldiers who died aboard the Ertuğrul frigate, which sank in Japan during a typhoon in 1890.
The cherry and apple blossom is a major tourist attraction in Germany as well and plays an important role in the local economy in the fertile Altes Land region - the largest contiguous orchard in Central Europe - with typical villages with densely decorated half-timbered farmhouses .
In Italy, a popular legend tells that, in 1166, a dry cherry tree miraculously blossomed in Acquapendente, in Tuscia (upper Lazio). The Acquesans interpreted it as an auspicious event, so they rose up and drove Frederick Barbarossa from their territories brandishing the goads, the iron-tipped sticks used by the peasants to push the oxen. Since then, the traditional 'Festa dei Pugnaloni' (formerly 'Festa di Mezzomaggio') - unique of its kind - has been dedicated to the 'Miracle of the Madonna del Fiore' every year (except from 1929 to 1958), on the third Sunday of May . During the re-enactments in historical costume, the pugnaloni - large panels with mosaic decorations of leaves and petals, so called by the goads - are exhibited in the historic center and carried in procession, decorated with garlands of flowers including cherry trees, behind the statue of the Madonna .
On the hills of Modena, in the town of Vignola, since 1970, the 'Cherry Blossom Festival' continues for three weeks between March and April as a good omen for the famous production of black cherry. The historic center comes alive with various initiatives of cultural, artistic and commercial interest: band concerts, folkloric representations, parades of allegorical floats inspired by the white and fragrant flowering in the Panaro valley, etc.
In Japanese literature and poetry, fading cherry blossoms were likened to the slow fall of snowflakes to the ground, but they were also associated with clouds for their blossoming on branches almost simultaneously and clustered together.
This flower of such beauty depicted in the works exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, in 1867, impressed European artists, so much so that the trend towards a new style called 'Japonisme' (Japonism) began to spread. In addition to attracting painters (Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Gauguin, etc.) and sculptors, it became a cultural current inspired by the Japanese model, also involving literature and the decorative arts.
Passionate about gardening, the Russian writer and playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) planted a cherry tree garden for his own use. Two works are inspired by his biography, one of the first and the last: the long story entitled 'The steppe' (1888) is the story of a child on a cart during a slow summer journey across the Ukrainian steppe, among fields of flowers cherry tree and meetings, headed for the city where he would start studying at the gymnasium; the classic theatrical text of dramatic literature entitled 'The Cherry Garden' (1903) deals with the social changes that have taken place in Russia.
The cherry blossom it is a wonder of nature, a joy for the eyes and joy for the soul. In addition to this image of beauty that appears before our eyes at the sight of the cherry tree in bloom, the scent of its pink flowers also makes the context even more evocative and unique. The flowering of this plant occurs in the spring period that goes from March to April up to the months of May-June if the temperatures are not particularly hot. In fact, its flowering, like many other plants, varies according to the climate of that particular year. The flowers die at - 2 ° C. If you have a large enough garden where you can grow the plants you like best, opt for the flowering cherry tree that will give you a show every spring! What are you waiting for?
One of the most frequent and popular iconographic uses of cherry blossoms is definitely the cherry blossom tattoo. The target interested in this type of tattoo is almost always a lover of the East and in particular of Japanese culture. In the vast majority of cases, the people who decide to get this symbol tattooed are women but not exclusively.
Beyond its beauty and ornamental value, the cherry tree also hides strong symbolic meanings.
In fact, the pink cherry blossom blossoms in early spring and is therefore a symbol full of hope and emotion. As the beginning of spring is a prelude to summer and good weather, the cherry blossom is an icon that alludes to the future and optimism towards the future to come.
The cherry blossom in a tattoo therefore represents life, hope, the desire to be reborn and beauty.
This is why we should not think of the Hanami festival as a sad or melancholy moment, but on the contrary.
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The meaning of flowers it is very important in Japanese culture. In particular, in the Land of the Rising Sun, considerable importance is attributed to meaning of cherry blossoms. Have you ever heard of Hanami? This is probably the most popular popular festival in the entire Japanese archipelago, from the far north to the far south. And it is a festival that, although it refers to the observation of flowers tout court, is almost exclusively dedicated to cherry blossoms, considered symbol of happiness and well-being.
Here is everything you need to know about the origins and meaning of these delicate pale pink flowers with an unmistakable scent:
Established even in the ninth century, the Hanami festival - also known as Cherry Night - is an ancient recurrence that is celebrated in April, precisely during the cherry blossom period. The language of flowers it is very important in all of Asia, but in Japan perhaps even more than elsewhere. For cherry blossoms, called Sakura, there is also an authentic reverence and the reason is quickly explained. With their rapid flowering, these flowers best represent the fleeting beauty of life, a splendor as disruptive as it is ephemeral that is a wish for well-being and happiness, but also a reason for reflection. In Japan, Hanami celebrates the rebirth of nature and at the same time the awareness of the transience of things. The cherry tree is a symbolic flower of birth, because it is capable of growing earlier and in a more flamboyant way than others. At the same time, however, it is such a delicate and fragile flower that it can be uprooted by a simple breath of wind. After all, a flower that represents human existence itself, which after a moment of splendor detaches itself from the tree and returns to the earth, to symbolically reconcile itself with the soil.
We must not think of the Hanami festival as a sad or melancholy moment, on the contrary. April in Japan is the month when school ends, when students prepare to move on to high school or college. April is also the month in which spring is fully entered. A period of transition, therefore, towards a new life. And the cherry blossom, which many Japanese love to collect during picnics or trips to the countryside, can also become a flower of hope in this sense.. In ancient times it was for an abundant and prosperous rice harvest, today above all of prosperity and success in studies and career. There are about a hundred varieties of cherry blossoms but the most popular, in Japan as in the rest of the world, is the five-petalled one called Somei Yoshino, pink in color. In its perfection, this type of flowers best exemplifies what are the main virtues of a samurai: loyalty, purity, courage, honesty. The association between the meaning of pink flowers is extraordinary and this key figure of Japanese culture. Just like a Somei Yoshino, a warrior must be ready to sacrifice his life in its full glory, in the name of a higher ideal. It is no coincidence that cherry blossoms were used as a symbol by the Kamikazes during the Second World War, in their extreme and tragic act of dedication to their country.
If autumn is a good season to plant the bulbs that will hatch into tulips, hyacinths and daffodils to admire in spring, there are however some flowers that open between September and December.
We remember the cyclamen, which remains beautiful throughout the winter (with the foresight to avoid frosts), the chrysanthemum, the carnation, theosmanthus and the sage.
I fiori of cherry they have inspired painters, musicians, writers and artists, just think of the works of Monet and Katsushika Hokusai or the famous play by Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Garden.
Flowering generally occurs during the spring season when the flowers, hermaphrodites, develop by gathering in corymbs from two to six units, while the peduncle can be from two to five centimeters long. Color of cherry blossoms: the calyx is red, the corolla is composed of five white or pink petals, while the number of stamens varies between twenty and thirty-five. Finally, the anthers are yellow in color.
Prunus is a genus of plant belonging to the Rosaceae family which includes different kinds of trees that they produce Cherry blossoms, in particular the Prunus serrulata, the cherry tree whose different varieties are cultivated for ornamental purposes and do not produce fruit unlike the Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus species. In the West, Prunus serrulata is also called Japanese cherry and is a deciduous tree that can reach 8-12 meters in height, with brown bark and flowers with shades of white, pink or purple, arranged in clusters divided into groups from two to five.
The most common variety in Japan and best known in the world is Somei Yoshino, i Cherry blossoms with five petals, but there are some species called yaezakura that can count about twenty petals per flower, the Ichiyo, or even a hundred, the Kikuzakura. The color also changes based on the variety and if i Cherry blossoms most famous appear almost white or of a color now pale pink, now light pink, some may also be yellow, as in the case of the Ukon species, or green. Generally the leaves do not appear before full flowering, except for the late flowering species, and are light green, but they can also be bronze or burnished and in Japan they are used in confectionery for the preparation of Sakura Mochi .
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If you want to see peach blossoms bloom in early spring, you just have to plant a peach tree in your gaze. Make sure that the soil is well curbed and has a low alkaline content and that the plant's exposure guarantees it a certain number of hours of sunshine per day. Only in case of a particularly dry summer, you will have to take care of water the plant, because usually, after the first three years of planting, the water received from rainfall is enough for the peach tree
If you don't have a garden, simply get a large pot and a peach tree from the dwarf variety, to be planted in autumn. Your plant won't exceed two meters in height, but flowering won't let you down.