Hanami – Cherry Flower Day in Stockholm
Every year the Japanese Society in Sweden celebrates hanami by organising Cherry Flower Day Festival (Körsbärsblommans Dag) in Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. Kungsträdgården is an urban park area with a big fountain in the middle that is surrounded by lots of cherry trees. The blossoming of the cherry trees is a very special time in Japan (Ive written about it here) and I think its so lovely to have a bit of Japanese culture in Stockholm during this time.
Because of the cold spring we’ve had this year, the blossoming of the cherry trees has been delayed, and we only have little buds at the moment. But that didnt stop the festival. The sun was shining and it was a lovely warm day!
We saw lots of lolitas, coplayers and people dressed in traditional Japanese clothing, like kimono. It was great to see so many Swedish young people being so into the Japanese culture. The lolitas pink looked amazing!
Traditional Japanese culture
Traditional Japanese culture was represented in the stalls. Bonsai, shodo, furoshiki, igo, origami, try on a kimono and lots more.
Lots of things to see
The stalls also had Lolita fashion for sale, there was a café, manga exhibition, kawaii games to try… There were fashion shows and performances with taiko drums, songs and dance. So much to see!
Here are some more photos from the festival:
Have you been to any Japanese festivals in another coutry outside of Japan?
Hanami celebrations in Japan
Spring has arrived in Japan and its the hanami season. The word “hanami” is the Japanese word for “flower viewing”. For about two weeks every spring, Japan transforms into a cherry blossoming paradise when the cherry trees are in bloom. The hanami enthusiast can make the most of the season by travelling through the country, starting in south and going north following the blossoming as it spreads up the country.
During daytime, people enjoy this beautiful time of the year by having picnics in the park. You meet up with friends and family or co-workers and you enjoy food and snacks together (often bento and dango).
People are playing and there’s music to enjoy. People often stay for hours until the evening, and thats when some parks are lit up by decorative paper lanterns. The night time celebration is called “yozakura”.
Since the cherry blossoming season is so short, its progress is closely watched by private agencies who will predict when it will start, and newspapers and TV will report as its happening across Japan.
A bit of Japan in Stockholm
In Sweden, where I live, we have cherry trees in central Stockholm, and every year when they’re in bloom there’s a celebration of both the flowers and the Japanese culture. In the past there’s been performances with taiko drums, kimono show, kyudo show and even Japan’s ambassador has been there and held a speech. Swedish cosplayer usually dress up in cosplay and have picnics under the cherry trees.
Have you been to any hanami events? In Japan or maybe elsewhere in the world?
Image credit: Picnic photo by AKphotos