The National Cherry Blossom Festival is Washington D.C’s signature springtime event and annually celebrates the gift of Cherry Blossom trees and their symbol of enduring friendship between the citizens of Japan and the United States.
The National Cherry Blossom festival annually commemorates the 1912 gift to the city of Washington of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozoki of Tokyo to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and celebrates the continued close relationship between the citizens of two countries. The flowering cherry tree called ‘Sakura’, is one of the most adored plants of Japan.
Jennifer Berry – Miss America 2006
The history of the festival goes like this: In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of these plants on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.
Anthony Fedorov – an American Idol season four Top 4 Finalist, and was voted Number 2 most popular performer in the 2005 Idol summer tour.
In 1915 the United States Government had responded with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. In 1981 the cycle of giving came full circle. Japanese Horticulturists were given cuttings from these trees to replace some Yoshino cherry trees in Japan that had been destroyed in a flood. With this return gift, the trees again fulfilled their role as a symbol and agent of friendship.
Blooming of Cherry Trees
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is planned to coincide as nearly as possible with the blooming of the trees. The blooming period for the trees can last 7-10 days. The mean date of blooming is said to be April 4.
It seems that, more than 1 million people visit Washington each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees that herald the beginning of spring in the nation’s capital.
I have clicked few pictures of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade today along the Constitution Ave and Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, downtown D.C. (The history of this festival is sourced from the National Cherry Blossom Festival tourist guide)
Author: Rosanne DSouza- USA