All you need to know about the historical Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossom Festival, which happens every year from March to April, memorializes the gift of almost 3,000 trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to the United States in 1912. The gift honors the friendship among the Japanese and American people. The festival, established mainly around the Tidal Basin, draws thousands of people to Washington D.C. each year. Peak efflorescence happens when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry trees are open. Most people are accustomed to the virtue of the cherry blossom trees and only a few know the story of whence these trees came to circle the Tidal Basin. Let’s have a look at the history of the Cherry Blossom Festival happening every year in Washington D.C.
Also read: Know about the Great Maine Lobster Festival
History of Cherry Blossom Festival
That story begins with a person buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Frequently ignored and neglected do the first President and First Lady to be inundated at Arlington National Cemetery is President William Howard Taft including his wife Helen “Nellie” Taft. Hence, in 1909, Mrs. Taft received a message from Mrs. Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, a regional artist and division of the National Geographic Society detailing a project to plant cherry trees throughout the Tidal Basin. Mrs. Taft responded to the letter by agreeing to the overall plan, but she suggested some trivial modifications to the layout of the trees throughout the Basin. The Japanese agent did tell about the project and strived to give nearly 2,000 trees.
In 1910 the trees arrived in Washington DC and the Department of Agriculture discovered that they were infested with insects. A few days later President Taft agreed to have the trees burned. The mayor of Tokyo and others from Japan decided to donate another batch of cherry trees to the Capitol. In March of 1912, approximately 3,000 trees arrived in the District.
Variety of Japanese trees in the festival
Mrs. Taft and the Japanese ambassador’s wife started planting the first two trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. Those trees still stand today with a small plate honoring the event. If you want to avoid the crowds at the Tidal Basin, come to Arlington National Cemetery to see a variety of Japanese cherry trees including Yoshino Cherry, Akebono Cherry, Weeping Cherry and other blooming trees like magnolias, dogwoods, redbuds, and Japanese crab apples. And while you are visiting, don’t forget to stop by section 30 to thank Mrs. Taft for her role in bringing the cherry blossom trees to Washington D.C.!
10 famous and favorite Cherry blossom festival
- Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival
- Kitakami Tenshochi
- Matsumae Koen Park Cherry Blossom Festival
- Copenhagen Sakura Festival
- International Festival
- National Cherry Blossom Festival
- Sakura Matsuri
- Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival
- Vancouver Festival
- Jinhae Festival