Saturday, September 12, 2009

the blog of Mar. 18, 2006

American Hanami

OK, let's set the record straight on cherry blossom festivals. I always figured that Washington DC adopted the custom from Japan, but recently some idiot rather jingoistically suggested that it must be the other way around.

From today's Salinas Californian, on the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC:

"The festival commemorates the March 27, 1912, planting of the first two cherry trees by First Lady Helen Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador. A few of the original 3,020 trees donated to Washington on behalf of the Japanese capital of Tokyo remain. Others were cultured from cuttings taken from the original trees.

'New York owns Christmas and shopping, and we own the spring and cherry blossoms' said..."

If I'm not mistaken, the Japanese cherry blossom festivals or 'Hanami' go back a little further than 1912.


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