Celebrating Greenery Day – The Magic of Japan’s Cherry Blossom Trees

May 4, Greenery Day, Japan's Cherry Blossom Trees
Reading Time: 3 minutes

May 4, Greenery Day, Japan’s Cherry Blossom Trees. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrating Greenery Day – The Magic of Japan’s Cherry Blossom Trees

May 4 is Greenery Day, a national holiday in Japan. It is a day that promotes environmental awareness and encourages people to connect with nature. It is a day to reflect on the importance of preserving the environment and humans’ impact on the natural world. In Japan, people will typically take part in outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and visiting parks and gardens.

Japan’s cherry blossom trees are one of its most recognized icons. The sakura (the Japanese term for cherry blossom trees) bloom pink or white flowers each spring. Sakura trees are ornamental and do not produce any fruit. They are known for having a fragrant smell. The trees will typically only bloom for 1-2 weeks.

Japan’s cherry blossom trees are famous. It holds the National Cherry Blossom Festival each spring, where people can enjoy the trees in full bloom. Call hanami (cherry blossom viewing), and people will have picnics and parties underneath the trees in celebration. It is a time to connect with nature and appreciate the change in seasons.

Japan’s cherry blossom trees symbolize good luck and springtime. And since they bloom for such a short time, they also represent human mortality to remind us of how short and precious life is. In ancient times, farmers would pray, make offerings, and prepare a feast under the cherry blossom trees. They believed these rituals would bring an abundant harvest.

Japan’s cherry blossom trees are not only found in Japan. In 1912, Japan gave more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States. It was a gift to celebrate the countries’ friendship. The U.S. planted many trees in Washington, D.C., near the Jefferson Memorial, attracting locals and tourists to appreciate its beauty. Like the Japanese, many Americans also see the blooming of the cherry blossoms as a special celebration.

Japan’s cherry blossom trees not only have a cultural significance but an environmental one as well. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. Cherry trees are said to be capable of absorbing about 2.4 tons of carbon. The emissions of a single car can be absorbed by 250 mature cherry blossom trees.

The flowers of the cherry blossom, their scent and color, will attract a variety of birds and insects, which will help with pollination. When the trees stop blooming and the petals fall to the ground, they decompose and turn nutrients that nourish microorganisms, insects, plants, animals, and soil.

Unfortunately, with the changes in climate patterns, including temperature variations and weather conditions, the timing and duration of Japan’s cherry blossom trees are being affected. Warming temperatures may cause the cherry blossoms to bloom earlier or later, disrupting the traditional timing of the festivals.

Cherry blossom trees are also very susceptible to various diseases, pests, and infections, which can threaten the health of the trees.

Fortunately, many conservation efforts, public awareness campaigns, and sustainable environmental practices are underway to help mitigate these risks and ensure the continued health and beauty of the cherry blossoms.

While Greenery Day is a national holiday in Japan, you can still celebrate it wherever you are. Here are a few ideas:

  • Plant a tree or some flowers
  • Visit a Japanese tea house or tea garden because it is said that the best green tea leaves are harvested during this time.
  • Spend some time in nature.
  • Donate to a foundation working to preserve nature and biodiversity.
  • Eat a green, plant-based, or vegetarian meal.

Celebrating nature, greenery, and our environment is important to appreciate its beauty and raise awareness about how we can protect these wonders for generations to come.

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