It is with heavy hearts that Koreans and visiting foreigners alike wish the blooming Cherry Blossoms farewell. Cherry Blossom season lasts about 10 days in South Korea and it’s a pretty big deal. Stores like Art Box and Starbucks start selling merchandise and drinks inspired by Cherry Blossoms at least 2 weeks prior to their blooming. People from all over the world plan their visits to Korea and Japan in anticipation of witnessing this beautiful time of the Spring season. I was lucky enough to be able to walk just down the road to the main part of my campus to see some whenever I wanted to. Unfortunately the blooming period is over and all the petals are being blown away by the wind, which in itself is very beautiful to see. What was once a pinkish-white is now bright green—signaling that summer is on its way. Even though the time has passed, let me tell you guys about one of the most magical Cherry Blossom festivals I went to.
The 2019 Seokchonhosu Lake Cherry Blossom Festival in Jamsil was held from April 5th to April 12th. There was no entrance fee and anyone was welcome to enjoy the Cherry Blossom lined paths around the two, large, connected lakes. The two lakes are split by Lotte World, which is one of South Korea’s amusement parks. At the festival, visitors can bask in the awesomeness of the many cultural and musical performances taking place. Face painting, caricature booths, and experience exhibitions are also available for those who wish to participate. One of my favorite parts of the festival must have been the huge balls of cotton candy my roommate and I bought. They were way too much to finish, but we rose to the challenge.
When my roommate and I first arrived at the festival, one of the most impressive things we noticed was the amount of people in the area. Even though everything was so nice to look at, walking around without bumping into someone every two seconds was a real challenge. We tried our best to move with the flow of pedestrian traffic but many times people would stop abruptly in the middle of the path to take pictures or look around, which would cause a domino effect of people tripping over one another. Not fun. However, as the afternoon went by, more and more people grew tired of the crowd and started leaving, which was great news for the lot of us that stayed. This was the first time that my roommate and I were truly able to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms and got to take pictures of them.
Each Cherry Blossom tree is beautiful, but when you put them all together in clusters, they form huge bouquets that rise way above your head and extend for miles. The effect is amazing. Everything was great, but there was one moment that I remember the most and, as I am writing this, I still remember the feeling it gave me.
The air froze around us briefly before it came peacefully rushing past us as people kept walking by. The breeze hit first, making our hair and skirts billow along with it, but then came the gentle, snow-like falling of the petals. I stood in awe of the event before me and I managed to catch some of the petals in my outstretched hands. This only lasted about 15 seconds before it was over and the magic was gone.
I don’t know the next time that I will be able to witness Cherry Blossom season again in Korea, but I hope that it is not too far away. I have truly fallen in love with the many things this country has to offer and getting to experience the coming and going of the Cherry Blossoms was one of the highlights of my experience so far. I look forward to seeing them again soon.