Konichiwa! You probably already know that Cherry Blossoms are just one of the things that make Japan such a tourist destination – aside from their delicious ramen! From being decorated onto clothing and added as a motif in cuisines and sweet drinks, these flowers hold a very rich history.
Aside from its history, Cherry Blossoms also include a very deep message and symbolic meaning. The only sad thing about this flower is that it is illegal to pick the flowers in Japan!
History of Cherry Blossom Flowers
Cherry blossoms are defined as plants with double petal fragrant flowers with small sweet or sour edible fruits. In Japan, the ornamental hybrid of cherry blossoms was developed to have white or pink petals.
These flowers belong to the genus Prunus of the Rose or Rosaceae family. There are around 400 species from this genus including fruit-bearing plum, peach, apricot, and almond trees! The Latin genus comes from the Greek word Proumnē meaning plum tree referring to how the fruits resemble a plum.
Prunus flowers are native to the northern hemisphere of the globe. Its habitat for growth and cultivation is mostly concentrated in North America, East Europe, and East Asia.
Cherry blossoms are more famously known as Sakura in Japanese. Aside from being a floral name, it is also a popular name for baby girls. Some of the well-known Japanese species include the East Asian Cherry (P. serrulata) and the Japanese Flowering Cherry (P. sieboldii).
So what does sakura mean and symbolize?
Cherry Blossom Symbolism
In some Asian countries, Sakura blossoms have quite a few important symbolisms that transcend cultural traditions. In Japanese beliefs and customs, Sakuras are regarded as flowers in times of renewal most especially in the fleeting nature of every day.
Its time of bloom and dormancy in Japan also symbolizes the transience of life since it only flowers in a short period of time.
After the Edo period in Japan, the Cherry blossoms gained a new symbolism. Even the falling of blossoms represented something important. It signified the spirit of Japanese Samurais in the code of the warrior who died in battle.
Metaphorically, such blooms are symbolic of the ephemeral and timeless beauty of the living. The Chinese believe that these also represent feminine beauty and a woman’s principle and value for love. It was known as the Chinese flower symbolic of Winter. Although in Korea, this was a flower symbolic of Spring.
Meaning of Cherry Blossom Flowers
Quite different from what these flowers symbolize, Sakuras denotes good education and learning. Like the foundation of schools in Japan, a Prunus blossom conveys the meaning of a bright and successful future.
With such an uncommon meaning, the Sakuras only come in flowers of two colors!
What does a White Cherry Blossom Mean?
White Cherry blossoms speak of the joy in celebration of new beginnings. Whenever new journeys come alight, a Sakura blossom also means the endurance during such times.
What does a Pink Cherry Blossom Symbolize?
Prunus flowers are very spiritual in nature. It is symbolic of the beauty of spirit and the classy grace of time.
What is the Cultural Significance of a Cherry Blossom Flower?
The Hanami is a traditional Japanese celebrated for the Sakura flowers during the Heian period. Before celebrating the beauty of these flowers, it was thrown in honor of Plum blossoms.
Yokugawa Yoshimune planted the first Sakuras along the Sumida River and encouraged the local townspeople to come and celebrate the flowers.
During the celebration, the people watch and enjoy the flowers in full bloom. And what is a celebration without the feast? Many delectable and traditional Japanese meals, alcoholic beverages, snacks, and sweets are served and enjoyed! In the evening of the festivities, the Hanami will then be called the Yozakura.
Traveling west to the United States, the Cherry blossoms made their debut in 1912. The mayor of Tokyo then bestowed the Japanese Flowering Cherry to Washington D.C and is currently planted around the Tidal Basin.
What is the Spiritual Influence of a Cherry Blossom Floret?
Cherry blossoms are sacred flowers as they are spiritually powerful. At any moment, these flowers in full bloom can bring an unexpected romance and gracefulness! It is full of relaxing and clarifying energies that create the purest of heartfelt intentions.
When its flowers open, so does the vision for healthier relationships and growth. It does all this while creating a boundary of protection from connections not healthy for the soul.
Sakuras are so spiritual that it reveals that truth of being. It spiritually nourishes the acts of self-love and forgiveness. In some cases, its essence releases pure and positive vibrations that uplift moods and divine energy.
Truthfully, these flowers are sure to draw romance, enhance mental strength, and support physical and spiritual well-being.
What are the Folktales Associated with a Cherry Blossom Flower?
Some Prunus species have quite interesting folktales. Superstitious people believe that hanging the flowers in homes over open doors and windows will offer a protective shield against unwanted evil from entering.
Dried nuts and berries of several species also have magical abilities. Placing them in your pocket was said to lead you to a mountain of priceless treasures!
What does a Cherry Blossom Floral Tattoo Symbolize?
The Sakuras are no doubt flowers of pure beauty and splendor. It is popularly decorated in many items and not surprisingly – as tattoos! As this floral design symbolizes fleeting time and beauty, it most perpetuates the rarity in every day.
With each blossom, it represents a renewed time full of optimism and opportunity.
Uses of Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms are popularly used as floral tree ornaments in gardens and open recreational parks. These can also be made into a gorgeous cut fresh floral bouquet or vase arrangement.
Some species of Prunus trees produce a dark to slight red wood which is used to manufacture fine furniture and construction materials.
Sakuras are also enjoyed in some cuisines and have medicinal benefits. The fruits are edible and can be processed into other products such as frozen or canned fruits. These often have a sour or sweet taste which can be used in many sauces and liquors.
The Japanese Flowering Cherry is also used in traditional Japanese food preparation. Its flowers and leaves are pickled in vinegar and are called the Umeboshi.
In Chinese folkloric medical practice, the Chinese or Nanking Cherry have known astringent and cosmetic properties. Such properties are found in the leaves, roots, branches, and flowers and served as a remedy for various ailments.
~ image source: depositphotos/Imagemore