Fukuyama Rose Festival
“Love planted a rose, and the world turned sweet”. — Katharine Lee Bates
Who doesn’t love roses? Especially among the ladies, roses have a very sweet spot in our hearts. Even just a single stem of a red rose could evoke a whole lot of emotions.
Fukuyama City, Hiroshima – Japan’s City of Roses
For rose lovers in Japan, head out to Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture. Also known as Japan’s City of Roses, it holds an annual 2-day Rose Festival every second Saturday and Sunday of May. But this title has such a bittersweet history to it. Much of the city was burnt during the air raids of the last world war. Years later as they were rebuilding the city and in an effort to uplift the morales of the people, they started planting roses in what is today known as Rose Park. Somehow it has become the city’s symbol of beauty and of strength — strength to overcome the hardships that war brought upon them.
From the station, we walked to the shuttle pick up point and waited for the bus (aptly called the Rose Bus)to take us to Rose Park. We went there on the first day, so naturally the buses were packed. While heading to our destination, the city’s love for roses is very evident because you see rose motifs and designs anywhere.
The park is a sight to behold. They were a lot of different roses in different colours , sizes, and varieties. Too bad when we went there it was drizzling. Afraid to get my camera wet, I hardly took any pictures but I still managed to capture some decent ones.
It is said that a rose’s colour and number (of stems) have their corresponding meaning and symbolism.
Color meaning (adapted from teleflora )
Red: romantic love, enduring passion
White : humility, purity, innocence
Yellow: friendship, joy, warmth
Pink: gentility, femininity, elegance, refinement
Orange: enthusiasm, desire
Lilac and purple: enchantment
Number meaning (adapted from teleflora )
1 : “I still love you”. However on a first date it symbolizes love at first sight
2 : mutual love and affection
3 : traditional one month anniversary gift
6 : infatuation
9 : “We’ll be together forever”
10 : love is perfect
12 : “Be mine”
13 : friend forever
15 : let someone know you’re sorry
20 : “my feelings for you are truly sincere”
24 : “I’m yours”
25 : congratulations
36 : “I’m head over heels in love”.
40 : “my love for you is genuine”
50 : a love that knows no bounds.
Just near the park there is a building that served as an exhibition hall. We didn’t wander much but there were different rose arrangements in display in one section and in another section, it shows how to grow a rose.
Of course, like every other Japanese festivals food stalls and souvenir shops abound around the park. There are parades, performances, musical fests, and one lucky couple gets to have a wedding ceremony in the park. There is also a light-up in the park on the first night. We weren’t able to witness it because we had to catch a train back to Okayama.
So come May and you feel like seeing some beautiful roses, head out to Fukuyama. For additional information visit their site http://fukuyama-matsuri.jp/bara/. Unfortunately, there is no English version for it.
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