From ancient Japan to hipster Brooklyn, Hanami has captivated the minds of artists, poets and naturalists for generations.
Hanami or the Japanese tradition of flower viewing began in 9th century Japan when Emperor Saga began hosting cherry blossom festivals, attended by artists and poets of the court. Hanami became a metaphor for life – vibrant, beautiful, and ultimately fleeting.
The Shinto tradition held that Kami or spirits resided in the cherry trees, until the flowers bloomed and dispersed, heralding the beginning of spring. During the Edo period, Hanami spread beyond the court and became a nationwide event.
Today Hanami is enjoyed throughout the world, notably at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, where the festival, Sakura Matsuri is hosted yearly in March and May.