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Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.

Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.

If you have ever traveled to the U.S. during the springtime, you are probably aware of how beautiful the scenery can be and how nice the weather usually is. If you are interested in sightseeing, then consider visiting Washington D.C. to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival. Beginning on March 20, the entire city begins to celebrate the Japanese gift of the Cherry Blossom Trees, and over a million people travel to D.C. each year to attend the festival.

The festival celebrates the flowering trees given to Washington, D.C. as a gift from The Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki in 1910. Two thousand trees were sent originally, but due to disease, ended up having to be destroyed. In 1912, 3,000 trees were sent to replace them, and throughout the years, more trees have been gifted to the city to symbolize the shortness and beauty of life. Today there are roughly 3,750 trees planted in the National Park area, with about 100 of the original trees around the Tidal Basin. Cherry Blossom trees have an average life span of 16-20 years and reach full bloom known as Mankai, for about 3 weeks a year. However, some species of the tree such as the Black Cherry tree have an average lifespan of 100 years with some known to have reached a life span of 250 years.

During the opening ceremony held on March 24th, and throughout the festival, you can enjoy American and Japanese performances, activities, food, and pick up souvenirs. There are several special events held during the festival as well. On March 31st, the 7th annual Blossom kite festival will take place. You can bring your own kite, make one at one of the activity stations provided, or purchase one to fly. You can also enjoy the Japanese Stone Lighting ceremony held on April the 8th. The ceremony celebrates the gift of the 300 year old lantern, given to the U.S. in 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace, Amity, and Commerce between the U.S. and Japan.

The closing of the festival is celebrated on April the 14th with the National Cherry Blossom Parade. There are many activities and performances scheduled on this day and the parade showcases floats featuring the Cherry Blossoms.

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