It is March 2020 and the cherry trees are in bloom in Washington D.C. Unfortunately the National Cherry Blossom Festival scheduled from March20–April12 has had its events either cancelled or postponed. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event first held in 1934, which often draws up to 700,000 visitors.
Cherry trees were first sent by Japan to the United States by the city of Tokyo in 1912. The movement to have cherry trees in the nation’s capital was started in 1885 by Eliza Scidmore, a travel writer and first female board member of the National Geographic Society. Scidmore had seen cherry trees in Japan and had fallen in love with them and wanted to see them adorn Washington D.C.
This year, visitors had to be heartily discouraged from viewing the blossoms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Even still, many people attempted to view the blossoms. Washington’s cherry trees are of various varieties, but about 70% of them are Some-Yoshino, a hybrid cherry that produces a pale-pink flower much loved by the Japanese of today. Let us hope that in 2021 when the world has returned to “normal” that the cherry blossoms will be able to be enjoyed by many, many people in Washington.
Photo: Courtesy Joe Flood via flickr