Join us to celebrate Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, at CWU!
MONDAY, APRIL 15
FREE, all ages, open to the public
This interactive event will feature traditional food, crafts, and music, and a showcase of powerful taiko drumming performances by Seattle's One World Taiko!
The cherry tree, or sakura, has a deep history and significance in the nation of Japan. For many centuries, the people of Japan have celebrated the Cherry Blossom Festival, or Sakura Matsuri, as hanami: flower viewing. Japan has the most species and widest variety of cherry trees (especially sakura, or flower-bearing trees) in the world, and these blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral and transient nature of life.
In the eighth century and earlier, Japanese people offered prayers while under the flowering cherry trees in special ritual for the fertility of the earth. The traditions of hanami that the people of Japan practice today greatly resemble those of the Edo period (17th-19th century). During this time, the people of Edo (present-day Tokyo) would go out in their finest attire on flower-viewing excursions to groves, gardens or temples where cherries were in bloom.
Every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public track the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front) as it moves northward with the approach of warmer weather via nightly news forecasts. The blossoming begins in Okinawa in January and typically reaches Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March. It proceeds into areas at the higher altitudes and northward, arriving in Hokkaidō a few weeks later. Close attention is paid to these forecasts, and people and turn out in huge numbers at parks, shrines, and temples with family and friends to hold flower-viewing parties. An annual National Cherry Blossom Festival street fair happens in Washington, D.C. while the thousands of cherry trees that Japan gave to the U.S. as a symbol of friendship in 1912 and 1965 are in bloom. Sakura Matsuri is celebrated with festivals around the world, and we are excited to be part of the tradition at CWU!
Sponsored by Asian Pacific Islander American House (APIA) Living Learning Community and Center for Diversity and Social Justice. For more information, please call Leah Shelton at 509-963-1687.
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