Japanese Cherry Blossoms
“The cherry blossom tree is truly a sight to behold, especially when it is in full riotous bloom. There are several varieties of the cherry blossom tree, and while most of them produce flowering branches full of small pinkish-hued flowers, some of them produce actual cherries.” –Homaro Cantu
Who doesn’t love the beauty of bright pink, budding, Japanese cherry blossoms? The Japanese flower has a canny way of letting us know when spring has sprung. As soon as the flowers make their annual appearance, the nation celebrates the cherry blossom’s beauty by way of the Cherry Blossom Festival. The Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place in Washington D.C., which is open to the public. The festival’s attendees include everyone from the most dedicated botanical admirers and fantastic history buffs, to America’s elite and big name celebs. Those who head over to the District of Colombia for the festival are likely to see around three thousand and seven hundred cherry blossom trees. Three thousand! And that’s only in D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Now, there is no clear estimation of how many cherry blossom trees can be found in total throughout the United States, but we’re certain it’s quite a bit.Cherry Blossom Festival. Now, there is no clear estimation of how many cherry blossom trees can be found in total throughout the United States, but we’re certain it’s quite a bit. Apparently, the first cherry blossom trees made their way to the U.S., over a century ago, in 1912. Story has it that the United States received a gift of three thousand cherry trees from the emperor of Japan, on behalf of the people of the country.
The cherry trees were a representation of friendship and came shortly after William Howard Taft was elected as president. According to PBS, Taft held the position of Secretary of War before his time in the Oval Office. During his time as Secretary, Taft traveled to Japan to visit the county’s prime minister. At this time, the two of them discussed one another’s “stakes and claims to colonized regions in Asia” as they became Allies. Soon after the two had met, Secretary Taft became President Taft, and the flowers arrived as a thank you gift.
Following the floral gift of 1912, Japan gifted the First Lady of 1965, Lady Bird Johnson, three thousand and eight hundred cherry blossom trees! Considering the preceding, one might assume that Japan holds extraordinary value to the cherry blossom trees. According to The History Channel, the people of Japan have held the cherry blossom tree as the nation’s symbol for hundreds and hundreds of years now! To the Japanese, cherry blossoms symbolize the Buddhist theme of transience of life. The tree acquired this meaning through its short, but sweet, blooming season. Here in the states, we drive by the cherry blossom trees on the way to work, or admire them on a walk through the park, but the people of Japan show their appreciation to the tree’s beauty a bit differently.
The Japanese gather together in small groups to visit and admire the trees, these special viewings are known as hanami; school children get time away from the classroom for hanami, neighborhoods and companies organize regular hanami. They pay visits to the trees every-so-often and once the pretty pink flowers bloom, they celebrate their New Year, in celebration of both beginning and end.