Holidays Around The World for Mar. 24: National Cherry Blossom Festival

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Between late March and early April

The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., is held whenever the cherry trees planted around the Potomac River Tidal Basin bloom—usually between March 20 and April 15. The 3,000 trees were a gift to the city of Washington from the city of Tokyo, Japan, in 1912, and today they are the focal point of a two-week festival celebrating the friendship between the two countries. Most of the original trees died because the water in the Basin flooded their roots. Their replacements were more carefully planted and now thrive. Dates for the festival are set a year in advance to avoid coinciding with Easter and Holy Week observances.

The festival has been in existence since 1948, although earlier celebrations included re-enacting the original planting and crowning a Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. Today the festivities include formal receptions for the 52 festival princesses (representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of Guam) and a Cherry Blossom parade through downtown Washington.

CONTACTS:
Official Website of the National Cherry Blossom Festival
1250 H St. N.W., Ste. 1000
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-661-7584; fax: 202-661-7599
http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org
National Mall & Memorial Parks
900 Ohio Dr. S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
202-426-6841
http://www.nps.gov
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 262
AnnivHol-2000, p. 72
GdUSFest-1984, pp. 43, 203
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