Petals on Medals: Bringing back old traditions

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games decided to give a victory bouquet to all it’s medallists in the games this year who are from the Tohoku region. It is a symbol of tradition and resilience and perseverance.


The triple disaster of Tohoku’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown was taken as a bad omen by some and as such, the flowers are a welcome sign of peace and a good future, as some superstitious people have said.


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Flower makers have said that the medals will feature the Gentian, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and these medals will feature the flowers. It is meant to encourage the people to move on from the disaster and recover for it. It basically means “get well soon”.


It must be noted, however, that during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, the tradition of giving flowers to medallists was stopped. This is because Russia is a very conservative nation and flowers, for the most part, are meant for women and only women.


And there was concern that the flowers might contain high doses of lethal nuclear radiation. The flowers are taken from disaster-stricken areas after all and there was a huge concern about that.


Also, the flowers will wither faster than the games will end. The Winter Olympics usually last one to two weeks and a flower normally withers in three to four days. This also caused concern for the health of the athletes and their psychological wellbeing.


Despite this, since Tokyo will hold the Olympic games in 2020, the great multitude of flower makers are pushing to bring back the tradition of giving flower bouquets to the athletes and winners and medallists of the games.


And to their amusement and joy, the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee was given the greenlight to give flowers to participants.


Reference: Tohoku flower growers putting the petals to the Olympic medals


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