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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Spring starts bursting out …

… if not all over, at least in some parts of Southern Norway. After one of the longest and coldest winters in decades, cherry blossoms like these near the National Library in Oslo are a welcome sight. Norwegians have even begun celebrating Hanami, the Japanese tradition of enjoying the blossoms during a short but very special time of the year.

Cherry blossoms like these near Norway’s National Library in Oslo are finally brightening up towns and cities around the country after a long, dark and bitterly cold winter. PHOTO: Berglund

Norway’s wintry weather actually began in the middle of the autumn last year, with unusually cold temperatures in both November and December that continued well into January, February and March. The bitter cold was accompanied by literally tons of snow and ice that all but shut down many Norwegian cities including Kristiansand, Stavanger and not least Oslo.

By April Norwegians were becoming fed up with all the snow that just kept falling, and single-digit temperatures continued throughout the month. It’s still chilly all over the country, but forecasts call for warmer weather later this week and the blossoming is already underway.

Oslo is full of small parks and public squares, and cherry trees are blossoming at this park near Solli Plass on the city’s west side. The birch trees in the background, along with many others, are much slower to start turning green. PHOTO: Berglund

The City of Oslo has, for the first time, mapped out where various types of cherry blossoms can be viewed and enjoyed, from the area around Carl Berners Plass on the east side of town, to Rådhusplassen (the plaza around Oslo City Hall) and St Olavs Plass not far away. Newspaper Dagsavisen reported over the weekend that it will also be possible to sit under the cherry blossoms at St Olavs Plass and enjoy the ambiance.

The neighbourhood association in the historic neighbourhood of Kampen in Oslo organized its third version of the Japanese Hanami over the weekend, complete with music, flower-arranging and an origami workshop led by experts in the art of folding paper into figurines. Public interest in the event has astounded organizers, who told Dagsavisen that around 3,000 people showed up at their first event three years ago and 21,500 had expressed interest this year. The Japanese Embassy in Oslo has advised the organization and takes part in opening ceremonies. staff



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