Cherry Blossom Festival is held in Amsterdam every year to celebrate the long-awaited return of SPRING. Which is so important in a country where, as I read today, there are only 45 (sic!) sunny days A YEAR.
(I choose to believe they meant the FULL days of sun;)
Sakura – from the Japanese word 桜 is the celebration marking the beginning of spring. It’s all about picnicking with friends and family. This was our first time in Amsterdamse Bos and you really could tell they hold the traditions dear:)
Cherry flowers as fragile as they are – symbolize the beginning of life and the ephemeral nature of it. They look like clouds too – thanks to the way they bloom – in large groups. When you look up you see this.
We went to the Kersenbloesempark (Cherry Blossom Park) in the Amsterdamse Bos as they have nearly 400 trees! They were a gift from the Japan Women’s Club in 2000 and they were all planted to symbolize the 400 years of relationship between Japan and the Kingdom of Netherlands. Now the fun fact – all the trees have been named – 200 were given Dutch female names and 200 Japanese female names. The naive part of me was looking for name tags on these trees. There were none, much to my surprise 😉
Another interesting fact is there are nearly 2000 Japanese expats living in the Amsterdam Area – Amstelveen. That’s the biggest diaspora of Japanese in Europe:) I’m pretty sure we saw many of those Amsterdam Japanese this Sunday at the park:)
Of course, if you wanted to see the original Japanese Sakura in Japan – you have to know it’s happening right now. The tradition started somewhere around the 8th century. The elite would stop their hectic lives to appreciate the symbolic cherry blossoms during picnics and…. poetry sessions.
It’s quite possible the Sakura is to Japan what Christmas to Europe;) There’s a Sakura craze happening in the consumer world months before the actual blooming season. You’ll find supermarkets filled with flowers, foods and merchandise – all cherry blossom themed. There is also the famous COUNTDOWN. It is a televised Cherry Blossom Forecast that shows you the exact moment by moment analysis of the blooms – they call it ‘the cherry blossom front’. All this to let you know where it’s best to see and appreciate those amazing flowers.
Where to find it?
Here’s the address if you feel like celebrating:)
Burgemeester A. Colijnweg 68,
1182 AL AMSTELVEEN
1182 AL AMSTELVEEN
Have you ever experienced the Cherry Blossom? Did you go to Japan or some other country? Do tell:)