If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of spring's most stunning blossoms, you'll find them in abundance at festivals designed to celebrate their rich cultural heritage.
cherry blossoms
Credit: Getty: Brian Eden

When cherry trees explode into flush but fleeting blossoms, it's time to get out and see them. Hanami, the Japanese celebration of the cherry blossom season, normally kicks off around the first signs of budding and continues until the petals slowly drift away from their branches. The season holds greater meaning for those who observe it, serving as a reminder of life's ephemeral nature and to appreciate beauty while it lasts.

According to data from the Japanese Weather Association, Hanami kicks off in different cities in Japan ranging from early March until early May this year. In the United States, there are multiple opportunities to celebrate Hanami and to see spectacular cherry blossom buds through the end of April. Here are seven cities with beautiful cherry blossom festivals that you should consider attending this year.

Costa Mesa, California

Nowruz, the Iranian new year at the vernal equinox, honors nature's rebirth. Also known as the Persian new year, the event typically takes place around March 20 each year and symbolizes the first day of Farvardin, which is the first month of the Iranian solar calendar. Join the fête at the Pacific Symphony's musical celebration on March 26.

Spanish Fork, Utah

A twist on the Hindu spring ritual, the Festival of Colors on March 26 and 27 offers live music, yoga, and the customary throwing of brightly hued powders. This event's team provides 10 assorted bright colors for attendees: violet, green, yellow, pink, and orange. Each environmentally friendly powder is made of corn starch, permissible food grade dyes, and fragrance.

Eastport, Maryland

At the Annapolis Maritime Museum's Oyster Roast and Sock Burning on March 19, the master of ceremonies recites, "Goodbye to winter, only deck shoes we wear!," a part of the "Burn Your Socks" poem. This is in celebration of the spring equinox and also the start of boating season. The tradition goes back to the late-1970s, as locals toss out their garments from the winter and enjoy live music, a shucking contest, and exhibits.

New York City

Martha has previously showcased Sakura Matsuri, which translates to Cherry Blossom Festival, and the event that takes place at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The event features a double allée of 'Kanzan' cherry blossom trees as well as 40 other varieties, and you can witness it all virtually in late-March.

Washington, D.C.

On March 20, the National Cherry Blossom Festival unfurls in Washington, D.C., with four weeks of events, from family-friendly Petalpalooza—featuring live music, art installations, and fireworks—to the Blossom Kite Festival. It's timed to the flowering of 3,020 trees given to the U.S. by Japan in 1912.

San Francisco, California

Head to the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, taking place virtually from April 9 to 17. The festive features Japanese cultural performances, traditional arts, like ikebana flower-arranging, live music, the annual Queen Program, and more each year.

Nashville, Tennessee

The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, which is in its 14th year and is a highlight of the city's Japanese Week, features hundreds of sprawling cherry blossom trees situated over two and a half miles. The events include a full day of music, dance, martial arts, a roving Japanese Candyman, Cosplay Contest, and Kaminari Taiko.


Be the first to comment!