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Afterwards, they partook of the offering with sake.Emperor Saga of the Heian period adopted this practice, and held flower-viewing parties with sake and feasts underneath the blossoming boughs of sakura trees in the Imperial Court in Kyoto.Poems would be written praising the delicate flowers, which were seen as a metaphor for life itself, luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral. The custom was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but soon spread to samurai society and, by the Edo period, to the common people as well.Tokugawa Yoshimune planted areas of cherry blossom trees to encourage this.In most large cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the cherry blossom season normally takes place around the end of March and the beginning of April.The television and newspapers closely follow this cherry blossom front, as it slowly moves from South to North.In modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. In many places such as Ueno Park temporary paper lanterns are hung for the purpose of yozakura.
In more than half of Japan, the cherry blossoming days come at the same time as the beginning of school and work after vacation, and so welcoming parties are often opened with hanami.Usually, people go to the parks to keep the best places to celebrate hanami with friends, family, and company coworkers many hours or even days before.In cities like Tokyo, it is also common to have celebrations under the sakura at night.Hanami is also celebrated in several European countries.For example, in Finland people gather to celebrate hanami in Helsinki at Roihuvuori.
In the United States, hanami has also become very popular. In Macon, Georgia, another cherry blossom festival called the International Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated every spring.