Monday, April 5, 2010

The Weekend Report: Cherry Blossoms

It feels like only a short while ago that I had a crazy-intense DC experience with my mama. BUT that was all the way back in November…and now she’s back! You all know I love visitors, and I love tourism, and I love my mama (obviously). So all things are good in the world of Mollie.

She got in Saturday evening, which gave me some time to recover from my Saturday morning hike at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Since we did it all last time she was in DC, Mama and I are taking things a bit easier this trip.

And by easier, I mean Dupont Farmer’s Market, church, the Renwick Gallery, the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin, the National Gallery, and yoga.

That was all just yesterday.

I guess “easier” is in the eye of the beholder…

Crazy? Maybe. Awesome? Yes.

Yesterday LLC joined us for the day, and we had an absolutely beautiful Easter Sunday.  The cherry blossoms peaked in DC this weekend, and it felt like the entire population of this city (plus half of Japan) was out in full force to soak in the sunshine and view the blossoms.

Hanani (“flower viewing”) is a tradition in Japan, where originally the elite of the Imperial Court held parties under the blossoms. It has evolved into an event for the masses, and an excuse to party outside and celebrate the spring.

Cherry blossoms do not come from cherry trees, so don’t expect the Tidal Basin to be surrounded by fruit later in the summer. Sakura trees were imported to Japan from the Himalayas, and have been grafted and bred to flower all at one time. They blossom for only about 2 weeks out of the year.

The mayor of Tokyo gave the DC trees (3,000 of them!) to the city of Washington in 1912 to symbolize the two countries’ “enduring friendship and close relationship.” (Considering how history went shortly thereafter, does that strike anyone else as a bit ironic?) First Lady Helen Taft and the wife of the Japanese Ambassador planted the first trees in a ceremony on the Tidal Basin. The first “festival” was later held in 1935.

It was definitely crowded (more than a million people come to see the blossoms each year), but nowhere near as bad as the Mall can be.  Maybe that’s just because it was so pleasant out, and because the tourists have yet to truly get on my nerves. (Ask again me in July how I feel about the crowds – I may be red-faced with sweat dripping down my back and people in my way...aka nowhere near as upbeat about the whole situation…)

Anywho, hope you all had a lovely Easter, and/or a nice spring weekend!