Hanami parties are remarkably popular in Japan with (virtually) the entire country participating.
Fields of Blue MatsIt's customary for people to reserve party spots under the trees with blue plastic mats. In some cases, people arrive 12 hours before a party to lay down a mat. Junior company staff are often selected for this important mission.
People treat the blue mats as they would the floors in a Japanese house — you need to remove your shoes before stepping on the mat.
Dumplings over flowersThere's an old saying in Japanese — dumplings over flowers (花より団子). It means that people are often more interested in food and drink at hanami than the flowers themselves.
You might expect hanami to be a quiet introspective affair. However, most hanami parties are fun filled (or wild).
It's not usual for a DJ to play music at full concert volume in a park. Drinking in the great outdoors is a Japanese tradition and there are no laws against it. People prepare lavish picnics for hanami.
Festival food vendors set up shop near popular hanami locations. A wide variety of Japanese festival foods are available.
Hanami from Helsinki to HawaiiHanami festivals are held in more than 20 countries around the world from Helsinki to Hawaii.
Dead bodies are buried under the sakura!This is a popular saying about sakura. It comes from the start of a famous short story entitled Under the Cherry Trees by Motojiro Kajii:
Dead bodies are buried under the sakura! You have to believe it. Otherwise, you couldn't possibly explain the beauty of the sakura blossoms. I was restless, lately, because I couldn't believe in this beauty. But I have now finally understood: dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees! You have to believe it. — Motojiro KajiiIt expresses a sense of disbelief at the beauty of sakura blossoms.