Culture Article #13: For the Joy of Sharing

Sakura Hanami

By C.I. Sivasubramanian
Aged 95, Retired Director, Ministry of Commerce, New Delhi

Mr. C.I. Sivasubramanian hails from Coimbatore. He has been living in Delhi throughout life. He was employed with the Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and retired as Director in 1986.


Introduction by Venkat
To imagine the viewing of flowers for hours celebrated like a festival with special tourist attraction is incredible! It is a mark of a devotion as uncle puts it, “almost like praying in a temple.” Giving such dedicated prominence to nature and flowers is heart-warming indeed.

Explore another beautiful ritual of Japan in this short yet sweet sharing of experience from the nonagenarian, Mr. C. I. Sivasubramanian!

Sakura Hanami

The important feature of Japan other than bullet trains is the way they love flowers and adorn places. You can see flower arrangements almost in all places, including in towers (ikebana is the name given to the Japanese style of flower arrangement). They have created a special culture of viewing nature, especially cherry blossoms. They view the blossoms almost like praying in a temple – with the same devotion and attention, year after year!

In 1998, we were planning on a visit to Japan where daughter and son-in-law were there. My daughter hurried us to go over to Japan during the cherry blossom season which lasts but just for two weeks, from March end to the beginning of April. Fortunately, we were able to see the blossoms in the first one or two days of our visit. There were a number of cherry trees close to the Imperial palace gardens, in full bloom. We happened to view them in the night. Local people take pleasure in viewing each single bloom, sitting at leisure below the trees. Many had camped under the trees for a picnic –they eat and drink and make merry. I am told that they reserve their places under the trees hours ahead by laying mats! We enjoyed seeing the flowers in bright pink color and also the Japanese viewing them and photographing with so much interest and awe – almost ritualistic! They call it Sakura Hanami, Sakura meaning flowers, and Hanami, viewing. It was almost like Christmas season, a festive occasion.

By C.I. Sivasubramanian
Aged 95, Retired Director, Ministry of Commerce, New Delhi


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