Floral Traditions in Japan - from Garden of Eden Flower Shop
Posted on December 31 2020
Happy New Year, everyone! Hopefully 2021 will be kinder to us than 2020 was! Last year, we focused on the birth flowers of all twelve months; for this new year, we’ll read about flower traditions in different cultures around the world. This month of January, we’ll visit Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, which has a long history of flowers as a major part of everyday life.
A tokonoma, or toko, is a recessed part of the wall, an alcove, in the foyer or reception area of a traditional Japanese house. Objects of art, wealth, and beauty, such as calligraphic scrolls, paintings, and pottery are displayed for the aesthetic interest of guests and occupants. Usually, a floral arrangement in the minimalistic style of ikebana (or a school thereof) is a focal point in the toko. The Japanese revere flowers, especially the chrysanthemum, magnolia, camellia, and sakura (cherry blossom), and flowers are a large part of ritual, events, and everyday life.
Weddings in Japan can be of two types, the traditional variety, which is a lot more sedate, and theWestern type, which has a celebratory component to it. There’s no doubt however that both types of celebrations do necessitate the gifting of floral arrangements.
As is the case with any celebration of love, Roses are easily the most popular choice of flowers. In Japan, even Red Chrysanthemums, Carnations and Gerberas of myriad colors are all considered celebratory and symbolic of romantic love and may be proffered as wedding gifts or floral themed centerpieces. Arrangements in the ikebana style are best, as they celebrate history and are aesthetically pleasing in their complex symbolism. Anything red in a flower is choice, as red represents good luck and fortune.
Funerals in Japan are a somber, sober affair where the family and community come together to commemorate the life journey of the deceased. Floral tributes, bouquets and floral arrangements are considered to be an appropriate offering to the deceased’s family. A seikasaidan, or “flower altar”, is a beautiful, elaborate floral piece, usually evoking waves or mountains to symbolize strength. The large
piece is akin to a flower float, with a picture of the deceased in the center of the massive floral artwork. The seikasaidan is akin to the European/American casket spray, but on a much more impressive scale.
Like in most other cultures, white flowers are supposed to be appropriate tokens of respect. White Roses, Chrysanthemums, Gypsophila, and Lilies are good choices, but any white flowers are appreciated.
But - even though white flowers are the choicest at a funeral, they must be the most flawless flowers possible, as even the slightest blemish can be treated as a mark of disrespect.
Thanks for reading! Hope you may have learned something new, and stay tuned for our next country to visit, Russia!