This festival in Washington DC originates from the Japanese tradition of picnicking under the flowering trees in the spring of the year. The bloom time is tracked (much like we track Santa'a global trip) across the islands of Japan. Folks songs, secret societies, nationalism and symbols are all woven into the fabric of the blooming cherry trees in this Asian country. The United States is not the only country that celebrates this magical time. But, in 1912, Japan gave us 3020 cherry trees (some replacing earlier trees). This gift of friendship has evolved into the week-long National Cherry Blossom Festival which takes place in Washington, D.C. While awaiting the birth of my third grandchild I was able to visit the trees one afternoon. Below are photos for you to enjoy and to thank the Japanese for such a lovely gift. The festival this year is more poignant than in years past.