The Reason Why Cherry Blossoms Should Never Be Picked
Hanami, which means “flower viewing” in Japanese, is a popular tradition where people gather to admire the beauty of cherry blossoms, also known as sakura. During this time, individuals from all over Japan come together in a joyous and relaxed atmosphere, where there are few etiquette rules associated with the event.
However, one action that is strictly forbidden is picking the petals, flowers, or branches of the sakura. For Japanese people, there are several reasons why this is considered disrespectful. Here are a few of them.
During hanami, the number of visitors can reach into the thousands, and if each person were to pluck the flowers, it could quickly bring an end to the beautiful display. Therefore, it is widely understood and agreed upon among the Japanese people that it is important to preserve the sakura and allow the hanami season to last as long as possible.
Culture and Religion
Sakura holds a significant place in Japanese history and culture. According to Japanese Buddhist beliefs, the falling sakura petals represent the impermanence and transience of life.
The delicate petals of sakura only last for a brief period, blooming brilliantly and eventually falling off with the wind. The ephemeral beauty of cherry blossoms has inspired countless Japanese poems and songs throughout history.
In Japanese history, the sakura has been used as a symbol for warriors and samurais. The samurai believed that the sakura represented the beauty and fleeting nature of life, and they used it as a reminder to live every day to the fullest, as if it were their last. This philosophy was called “mono no aware,” which translates to “the pathos of things.” The idea was that the beauty of the sakura and its short lifespan represented the impermanence of life and the inevitability of death.
In Japanese cultural traditions, it is believed that the sakura flowers represent the spirits of warriors who died in battle and have been reincarnated.
During the Edo period, it was common for the Japanese to pluck some cherry blossoms during hanami celebrations. However, this practice faded away during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and has not been followed since.
In Japan, picking a flower from the sakura during hanami may make people feel uncomfortable, although they may not express it openly. However, if someone picks even a small branch, it is likely that someone will point it out and express their disapproval.
Indeed, it is highly recommended to resist the temptation of picking the beautiful sakura flowers for several reasons. Not only is it considered impolite and disrespectful towards Japanese cultural traditions, but also detrimental to the longevity of the hanami celebrations. Furthermore, the sakura petals represent the impermanence of life, and thus, should be allowed to fall gracefully in their natural cycle.