For centuries, the blooming of cherry blossoms (sakura) in Japan has held a near-magical significance, inspiring poetry, art, music, and kimono designs, while also symbolizing new beginnings. After the heavy grayness of a long winter, there is something about spring that warms the shoulders, lightens the step, brings a smile to the face, and makes one feel more alive. Everywhere you look, pink is in season: sakura bath products, sakura sweets, and sakura tea. It is a time for new students (shinnyusei) to enjoy time with their parents at school entrance ceremonies (nyugakushiki), a time for new employees (shinshakaijin) to join a company. Weddings are often scheduled for this time, with the floating sakura making a splendid background for photos of the bride (hanayome).
Full article: A Springtime Walk on the Riverbanks of History