Sunday, March 11, 2012

The National Cherry Blossom Festival 2012: 100 Years of Cherry Trees in DC

In 1912, exactly 100 years ago, over 3000 cherry trees arrived in Washington DC from Japan to be planted in the capitol. The trees had survived transit over the Pacific to Seattle and then across the country by rail before finding their home in the tidal basin of the Potomac. Some of these tree, and many more added over the years, still stand today and this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the centennial of the first trees being planted.

The celebration takes place between March 20th and April 27, but blossoms have already started the celebration early this year according to the National Park Service. There are a lot of events planned around the blossoms, including bike tours, concerts, and plenty of other events highlighting Japanese culture and the celebration of the cherry blossom season. You'll find more information in the links at the end of the post.

While not everyone can make it to DC, this is also the season to look for cherry trees in your own community. Spring is here and cherry trees are a sure sign that winter is on the way out. Many botanical gardens in cities around the nation have their own cherry tree groves where you can hold your own hanami (Blossom viewing party) just like they do in Japan. In Seattle, we're lucky enough to have a long history of Japanese cultural exchange which means thousands of trees throughout the city, including a grove on the University of Washington campus. If you can't make it, you can always enjoy the view with a virtual visit to DC and beyond:

A Virtual Visit to Cherry Blossoms in DC, 2012
Cherry Blossoms in Osaka
Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto
Cherry Blossoms at Himeji Castle
Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington (The Quad), 2009
Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington (The Quad), 2012

[via National Cherry Blossom Festival]
[via 100 Best Cherry Blossom Spots]

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