cherry blossom meaning

Cherry Blossom Flower Meaning and Symbolism

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If you’re looking for a guide to cherry blossom meanings, you’ve come to the right place. 

Cherry blossom symbolism represents spring – a time of renewal. They can also represent the fleeting nature of life, since their blooming season is so short-lived. Although the beauty of cherry blossom flowers will no doubt take your breath away, you’ll find that these blossoms sadly die back after just two weeks.

What Are Cherry Blossoms?

Cherry blossoms, also known as “sakura” in Japan, are tiny pink flowers that are produced by the cherry blossom tree. They bloom in the spring and produce quite the spectacle, offering a brief bloom that lasts only two weeks. 

These flowers are native to Asia and can be found on cherry blossom trees growing in South Korea, India, and China. However, they have been brought all over the world and can be found growing in many other countries as well.

Cherry blossoms are flowers of sakura trees in the genus Prunus

What Do Cherry Blossoms Symbolize?

Cherry blossoms have deep symbolic meaning. In China, they represent love and the female mystique of strength, sexuality, and beauty.

In Japan, the flowers are most cherished and even became their national flower, with the blossoms found in all aspects of Japanese culture, from film to poetry and even paintings.

They also represent the fragility and transience of life. They tie closely into Buddhist themes of mindfulness, mortality, and living in the present.

Many Japanese people believe that cherry blossoms are metaphors for human existence – after all, their bloom time is only fleeting.

sakura meaning
Pink cherry blossoms by RiO75/pixabay

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Meaning in Japan

In Japan, cherry blossoms have special meaning. Here, the sakura tree is renowned and viewed as a symbol of good times. When cherry blossoms are in bloom, people will celebrate, hosting “cherry blossom parties” with friends and colleagues. 

This custom, known as “hanami,” can be traced back to more than a thousand years and literally means “watching blossoms.” This ritual has deep cultural and religious roots. 

Japanese gather under the trees every April, celebrating new beginnings and the upcoming year – which should be promising and bright. 

The fiscal and school years in Japan both begin in April, which is the cherry blossom season also known as the season of the “sakura flower.” Japanese cherry blossoms represent a fresh start and are celebrated all throughout the country.

In Japan, cherry blossoms are also tied closely to “bushido,” or “the way of the warrior.” This moral code was followed by samurai, feudal Japan’s ancient warriors. This code required respect, discipline, and honor. 

Fallen cherry blossom petals were believed to symbolize the end of the samurais’ lives. In World War II, the blossoms held similar meanings, as Japanese pilots painted their warplanes with the imagery before embarking on their missions.

Cherry blossoms also symbolize renewal here. This meaning has held on, with its first origins around 710 (long before the rise of feudal Japan). It represented the mountain deities and signified agricultural success.

As one of the most beautiful spring flowers, they represent the beginning of spring, a time of renewal and hopes for a productive growing year. 

Cherry Blossom Meaning in the United States

Here in the United States, the cherry blossom takes on a different meaning. In 1912, Japan gave more than three thousand trees to Washington, D.C. in an effort to restore friendship and political alliances. The trees were planted by Helen Terron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese ambassador. 

Today, these cherry trees are commemorated each year at D.C.’s National Cherry Blossom Festival. At this time, thousands of spectators come to the city to watch the cherry tree blossom into shades of pink and white flowers. Of course, there are plenty of events that go on during this festival, too. 

In the United States, cherry blossoms are still viewed as symbols of tranquility and peace. 

What Does a Cherry Blossom Tattoo Symbolize?

Cherry blossom tattoos are just as entrenched with symbolism as the cherry blossoms themselves. These tattoos represent the ephemeral nature of our existence along with the delicate beauty of new beginnings. 

Up Next: Cherry Blossom Bonsai

Photo by imagebrokermicrostock/depositphotos

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