Hanami Bento Box, Ideal Party Component | The bento box is an indispensable part of every cherry blossom viewing party (hanami) in Japan. No party is said to be complete without the bento box, the contents of which are prepared specially to represent the bounty of the spring season.
Greeting the arrival of spring in Japan through the ‘hanami’ is a custom that is being followed in the country since ancient times. Admiring the cherry blossoms is regarded as a festive occasion. As spring arrives which is from about late March up to the early months of May, you see a gradual flowering of the huge cherry trees located in the southern region and then moving to the northern part of the country. Fragile pink flowers adorn the cherry trees turning them into huge riot of color and giving a beautiful look to the long avenues and wide parks in the country.
In today’s times, the hanami ritual involves family and friends coming together under the shade of the cherry blossoms for a traditional picnic. One of the important items in the picnic basket comprises the bento box. The bento box is a lunch box divided into several compartments and accommodating the meals for a single person or many depending upon its size. Whatever, be the size; the food colors prevailing in the bento box for a cherry blossom party need to be pink, orange and red; the colors representing the blossoms as well as heralding the onset of spring. These boxes are often called as the hanamibentos.
The recipes of the food items are centered on these colors and you have an assortment of food items going into the bento box for this occasion. In addition to the rice, you have recipes of salmon, shrimp, pink sea bream sushi, smoldered carrot and pumpkin or a sweet-savory pink colored recipe of rice dumplings which is enclosed in cherry leaves. You also include foods and vegetables that are typical to the spring season like grilled salmon, wild ferns and green spring herb dumplings.
However, the hanami bento need not necessarily be made in Japan. You can make it home even if you live elsewhere. Just ensure that spring ingredients and the colors of the food items in the bento represent the typical hanami colors. Stretch your creative limits and use rainbow trout, spring mix, asparagus or any other local and fresh produce.
There are several varieties of hanami bento boxes available in the market and each one symbolizes the spring festival. Pink colored boxes with each tier shaped like the five petals of the cherry blossoms is one of the examples in this context. If the hanamicomprises a large number of people then you can use the three tiered bento box. The giant bento box which has a capacity of about three liters is sufficient enough to pack the favorite food items of all. Moreover, the varied compartments also facilitate the proper division of food. For a small numbered party you can have an individual bento box for each member.
All said and donethe availability of the big bento boxes goes a long way in ensuring the success of your hanami!