By Jill Brooke
The glorious cherry blossoms of Washington D.C. are now in bloom starting today and residents can expect to see this national gift from the Japanese in 1912 all around the city for the next two weeks.
However, because of Covid restrictions, residents can’t go to the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial that often attracted 100,000 visitors each year.
But Diana Mayhew, the longtime president of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and her devoted team, have come up with other solutions to enjoy this springtime festival.
Aside from a kite contest, twenty-six artists were chosen in a contest designed to create cherry blossom sculptures that are now scattered like cherries on ice cream sundaes all around the region. The contest was sponsored by Amazon, which also owns the Washington Post, and brought out such creativity and happy interpretations.
Here are some of the examples – and who couldn’t love sculptures named Petal Party, Flower Kuties, Blossoms on the Mall, or Renewal Blossoms. After all, these flowers help announce that spring is here and that hope blooms eternal.
As some of the artists pointed out, this year marks the 10th anniversary of The Great East Japan Earthquake, which caused devastating damage to the country and people and the tragic loss of nearly 20,000 lives.
However, the earthquake may have shaken Japan, but it only strengthened the friendship between Japan and the United States. They remember with profound gratitude how their greatest supporters and friends in America who, more than any other country, responded with critical aid and heartfelt messages of hope when they needed it most. Much like the cherry trees along the Tidal Basin—originally a gift from Japan to the U.S. in 1912 and a symbol of renewal—the friendship has continued to grow with every year.
But the recurring message for this moment is about resilience and renewal which in the language of flowers is what cherry blossoms represent.
“I’ve worked to embody the soul of spring and the energy of celebration,” says Matt Long who created Petal Party. “Bright, bold and vibrant-this blossom is blooming with good vibes.”
“I love how flowers affect a person’s feeling,” says Kaila Garcia who created Flower Kuties. “Flowers can brighten up your day, show sympathy, and of course celebrate life. Flowers to me mean spring when things come back to life.”
Jaleel Davis created the above image of Blossoms on the Mall while Ameena Fareeda created Renewal Blossom below. The following images were made by Woojung Lee and Jon Gann, who named his sculpture, “Recycle.”
Local D.C. residents are also being encouraged to decorate their homes inspired by cherry blossoms – as we saw residents also do in New Orleans. Flowers are always the message of resilience and as I always say, “Even when stepped or trampled on, flowers grow, trusting their inner beauty and resilience.”
There are also on-line virtual discussions about cherry blossoms and something more too.
“All this will culminate with the National Cherry Blossom Festival Celebration Show, a nationally syndicated show hosted by Drew Barrymore on April 9th,” adds Mayhew, which includes performances by Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, Cece Winans, Lindsey Stirling and skater Kristi Yamaguchi.
We are all so ready for spring and don’t these cherry blossoms just get you in the mood?
Photo Credits: National Cherry Blossom Festival
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.