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Spring and Sakura

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As the snow thaws and the Earth begins to warm, we wave good bye to Winter and welcome Spring once again. Flowers begin to bloom, warm-weather animals come out of hiding and the sky becomes even clearer. It's no wonder so many people are eager to get rid of that Winter wardrobe in favor of the airy fashions of Spring time. 

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Plants begin to grow, baby animals are born and the breath of life is blown across the world. We become more positive as we think of growth that might happen in our own lives as well as in nature. This growth might relate to a career, hobbies or even personal growth. 

Quite a few forms of media refer to Spring as the 'Season of Love'. As the air around many of us warms up, so do our hearts. Sometimes media goes as far as to have a plucky heroine go out in search of love, hoping for her own personal 'spring' or change. Usually the heroine is able to come out on top and find happiness. 

                Sakura Cherry Blossoms Tree Japanese Japan Branch Up Close Pink Flower Pretty Beautiful

In Japan, a popular pastime in this beautiful season is to attend cheery blossom viewings. Cherry blossoms, also known as Sakura, tend to only bloom for about a week. Though they are fleeting flowers, they bloom in different parts of Japan, so anywhere between March and early May people might find themselves able to appreciate their splendor. There are even guides which mark where the prime viewing spots are during different times in the season. 

Friends, family and loved ones all come together to sit and watch as their pink petals drift in the air and fall to the ground below them. These flower watching parties are referred to as "Hanami" and are a custom of appreciating the natural beauty of these floral trees and celebrating beneath them by eating, drinking and playing or listening to music. 

Believe it or not though, this tradition started out with plum blossoms, also called ume, as opposed to the cherry blossoms which are almost synonymous with the word Hanami in present day. Today ume viewing is more popular with the older crowd as "Umemi" (plum viewing) is much more peaceful than Hanami which attracts much more young people and in turn, bigger crowds and more noise. 

               Hanami Japan Japanese Flower Viewing Sakura Blossom

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