In spite of heavy snow in the Washington area earlier in the week, today is the Spring Equinox and the official launch of The 102nd National Cherry Blossom Festival, which will continue through April 13th.
Cherry blossoms are much loved by Washingtonians, and the beautiful flowering trees around the Tidal Basin have become a symbol of the capital’s springtime. Cherry blossom trees, or “Sakura” in Japanese, were a present from the people of Tokyo, Japan to the people of Washington, D.C. to commemorate the two countries’ strong friendship 102 years ago.
The festival includes lots of entertainment and cultural events, including an opening ceremony on March 22nd, a Grand Sake Tasting on April 3rd, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival on April 12th, and many others. This year, there will also be a Japanese film festival, “CineMatsuri” featuring five contemporary Japanese movies from March 23rd to 27th.
The National Park Service predicts that peak bloom will be April 8th to 12th. After a long and cold winter, many Washingtonians are looking forward to celebrating spring and the beauty of the symbol of the US-Japan friendship.