April 28th, 2023, Mykolas Romeris University’s (MRU) academic community gathered to celebrate the blooming of the Japanese sakuras near the MRU LAB building in the “Friendship Garden.”
The “Sakuras Blooming” event brought together not only MRU academics and staff, but also Vilnius residents, and guests from abroad.
Participants were greeted by Japanese music, served Japanese tea and desert. MRU Rector Prof. Inga Žalėnienė was on hand to welcome all those taking part in this unique event.
The “Hanami” tradition in Japan translates as “flower watching” and is a celebration of Sakuras and the coming of spring. People gather together near the sakuras with family and friends to enjoy drinks and snacks under these trees, when they are in full bloom. The tradition has caught on at the University as well as in all of Lithuania.
MRU Senate member Prof. Grazina Ciuladiene spoke about the “Hanami” tradition.
Mykolas Romeris University Rector Prof. Inga Žalėnienė said that the University has also grown together with the sakuras. Today at MRU it is possile to hear not only Lithuanian spoken, but also Japanese, Korean, English, Ukrainian and other languages. Students and professors at MRU come from more than 60 countries.
The Rector thanked the University community, whose ranks have been filled also by Ukrainian students, and academics for their unity and commonality, which helps overcome even the most difficult challenges. She expressed hope that this special moment of blooming sakuras would live on not only in photographs, but also in the hearts of all.
The sakura garden was planted 7 years ago and has successfully become part of the MRU campus on Didlaukio Street near MRU's Social Innovations LAB Centre - MRU LAB.
The 39 trees, growing in MRU's "Friendship Garden," have their own names - "Freedom," "Courage," "Respect for Human Rights," "Peace“, and "Justice“ and others, which symbolize the common values of humanity.
The "Friendship Garden" was planted in an effort to highlight the values which MRU holds dear as the first state University established in a Lithuania, which had re-established its independence. The concept of the Garden was chosen in consultation with Japanese garden master in Lithuania - Kęstutis Ptakauskas, who chose the trees for the Garden. There are already 24 three-metre high sakuras planted in the "Friendship Garden" and 15 two-metre high Japanese rowan bush trees.
The master planner of the Japanese sakura garden selected the sakuras and rowan bush trees having carefully thought out the concept. Sakuras symbolize inner dignity, nobility, youth and renewal, while the rowan trees - inner beauty, privacy, peace and shelter. These trees typically reflect the change of seasons. Sakuras bloom in the spring, while the Japanese rowan bushes change colours spectacularly in the fall.