the most magical time of the year

I vote cher­ry blos­som sea­son to be the most mag­i­cal time of the year.

Walk­ing under­neath canopy after canopy of pink and white blos­soms is such an incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence. You look up and there are mil­lions of petals gen­tly sway­ing in the wind. An end­less sea of flow­ers. It real­ly feels sur­re­al. (I tried to cap­ture that expe­ri­ence in a video too, it’s post­ed here if you haven’t seen it :D)

We’ve only start­ed going to High Park to see the cher­ry blos­soms in the last cou­ple of years (hav­ing lived in Toron­to for some 13 years now, why I did­n’t start going before last year is beyond me), but we so look for­ward to it every spring. I’m sure lots of peo­ple do too — there was already a siz­able crowd in the ear­ly morning.

High Park orga­nizes a cher­ry blos­som walk every year, but I don’t think there’s an offi­cial fes­ti­val for the cher­ry blos­soms in Toron­to. But I call it a fes­ti­val any­way — it’s such a love­ly cel­e­bra­tion of spring’s arrival, and the cher­ry trees them­selves rep­re­sent a won­der­ful piece of his­to­ry as well. The trees were donat­ed to High Park in 1959 by the City of Tokyo, in appre­ci­a­tion of Toron­to accept­ing relo­cat­ed Japan­ese-Cana­di­ans after the 2nd World War.

Here’s Zumi’s take on a flower bud. I real­ly like what this pho­to cap­tured — the sparkling light, the soft and del­i­cate petals, the sub­tle shade of pink before full bloom to white.

And here’s Zumi’s take on a cer­tain fes­ti­val-goer, with his film cam­era. Who uses a film cam­era nowa­days? That’s why I love him ;)

This real­ly has noth­ing to do with the cher­ry blos­som, but I just want­ed to show you this taro brick toast I had, when we stopped for a snack after the park. I’ve had green tea brick toast, and con­densed milk brick toast, but nev­er taro (brick toast is a Tai­wanese snack made with a real­ly thick piece of toast, with but­ter and var­i­ous top­pings). I was intrigued. It was so purple!

My only regret of the day was that I for­got to bring Saku­ra Mochi with me :( So I hung it on my purse the next day when we went out to church.

But then after church a friend men­tioned that he had walked by a bunch of cher­ry trees in the morn­ing near Robarts Library, and offered to take us there to see them. So yay! Saku­ra Mochi still gets a pic­ture with the cher­ry blos­soms this year! (Psst! To cro­chet your own saku­ra mochi for the sea­son see here)

These trees are part of the Saku­ra Project, gift­ed by the Con­sulate Gen­er­al of Japan in Toron­to as a sym­bol of friend­ship and goodwill.

While tak­ing yet more pho­tos of cher­ry blos­soms (don’t wor­ry, I’ll just keep them to myself rather than dump­ing them all here :P) I spot­ted this red and white cord tied to a branch. It’s some­thing that I have seen sev­er­al times last spring, here, and here.

So that made me real­ly curi­ous, and I did some dig­ging (i.e. Googling). I’ve always thought that it has to do with a Japan­ese tra­di­tion, because of the red and white colours. But am I ever wrong! The red and white cords are part of a Roman­ian tra­di­tion, MărÈ›iÈ™or, mean­ing “lit­tle March”, and cel­e­brat­ed on March 1st for the arrival of spring. The cords have a real­ly poet­ic mean­ing: the white sym­bol­izes win­ter, and the red rep­re­sents spring, fire, blood — the sym­bol of life; the entwined cord there­fore sym­bol­izes the pass­ing and com­ing of the sea­sons, the con­tin­u­ous cycle of nature. The red and white cords are worn as pins and then tied to the branch­es when the trees begin to bloom.

Ah, it’s nice to learn some­thing new every­day :D

I hope you’re enjoy­ing some love­ly spring weath­er like we do here!