Cherry Blossoms

dc blossoms.jpgRain is awakening life! The plants are resurfacing, and everything seems to be waking up. Spring is the season that calls to the senses. The aroma is enough to draw in pleasant moments, and nature gives color and beauty to the background of city life. I am always excited to see the first buds appear, because I know that warm weather is on the way and new life is around every corner.

In Washington, D.C. spring seems to be bringing many forms of life. People are coming out from winter hiding and the Cherry Blossom trees are blooming. These next few weeks welcome thousands of tourists from all over the country, and the world, to take part in this spring festival.

For those of you who have experienced the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C., you know that it is a one-of-a-kind experience. There are people everywhere celebrating all forms of culture. One of the first activities this year was the National Kite Festival.There were hundreds of adults and children trying to keep their kites in the air, while some others tried to overtake their neighbors’ kites in the style of traditional Eastern kite fighting. It was exciting to see the joy when success was achieved, and the contraptions were soaring with the birds.

The Cherry Blossom committee has developed an extensive itinerary to keep folks of all ages involved in the celebration of these trees budding. If you would like to learn more about the Festival, check out this link to their page.

kite 2.jpgThe question that I have is: Why do so many people come to Washington each year to celebrate these majestic trees?

One part to this answer could be the history of the tree. The main Cherry Blossom tree that you see around D.C. is the Somei Yoshino, or the Yoshino Cherry tree. This tree species was cultivated in the Edo period, and first arrived in D.C. in 1912 as a gift from Japan to mark growing foreign trade relations with the United States.

Cherry blossoms are at the heart of many social traditions. Coming together to relax and reflect in their beauty has been carried over to the United States from Japan, but what most people don’t know is that the custom was originally borrowed from China.  

So whether in D.C. or elsewhere, hopefully you’re enjoying spring–or fall if you’re in the southern half of the world!

By: Sarah Evans

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