The Cherry Blossom Festival this year marks the 100th anniversary of the planting of Japanese cherry trees on the Tidal Basin and will not only feature a celebration of the trees’ origin, but also signify remembrances of the earthquake and resulting tsunami last year that destroyed parts of Japan and created a national emergency.
Monday afternoon, Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. stated that this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival will honor a century of his tradition with a nation that is still recovering.
In honor of this occasion, we at Farraguter present to you 10 reasons why this tradition between Japan and the U.S. is special and something that should continue to be celebrated for years to come … (interspersed with beautiful pictures) …
9. The first “Cherry Blossom Festival” was held in 1935
8. A Cherry Blossom Pageant was begun in 1940.
7. On December 11, 1941, four trees were cut down.
6. In 1948, the Cherry Blossom Princess and U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen program were started by the National Conference of State Societies.
5. The Japanese gave 3,800 more Yoshino trees in 1965, which were accepted by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson.
4. In 1982, Japanese horticulturalists took cuttings from Yoshino trees in Washington, D.C., to replace cherry trees that had been destroyed in a flood in Japan.
3. Of the initial gift of 12 varieties of 3,020 trees, two—the Yoshino and Kwanzan—now dominate.
2. Interspersed among all the trees are the Weeping Cherry, which produces a variety of single and double blossoms of colors ranging from dark pink to white about a week before the Yoshino.
1. More than 700,000 people visit Washington each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees.