The Blossoming of Hope


Ashlee O'Neill

Time to go outside and look at the cherry blossoms. Maybe even go to see them in DC.

Cherry Blossom Trees

Cherry blossoms often symbolize the arrival of spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. They peak sometime between March and April. 

However, these delicate flowers do not last long, but are in full bloom for about a week. Cherry blossom trees tend to grow fast, reaching to about 15-25 feet tall. A healthy one may live for around 30-40 years. 

There are over 600 different varieties of cherry blossom trees. These blossoms come in different colors, varying from pink to lighter pinks, dark pink, and even white.

Life Cycle of a Cherry Blossom 

  1. Start to see green buds
  2. Florets
  3. Peduncle elongation – occurs when the buds become sensitive to the frost
  4. Puffy soft white (or some other color)                                            
  5. Full bloom                                                                               
  6. Petals fall off of tree
  7. The green leaves grow
  8. When fall comes the leaves turn red, orange, or yellow
  9. Then leaves fall off the tree

Japanese Tradition

 In Japan, cherry blossoms represent renewal and hope. There are multiple festivals throughout Japan celebrating cherry blossoms. One of these locations is Takato Castle Park (Nagano), where the events occur in April. Japan has a tradition of picnicking under the cherry blossom trees every year. This old custom, called “Hanami”, means flower viewing. On the night of picnicking, the Japanese hang paper lanterns on cherry blossom trees to let the trees glow. 

Gifts to the United States and Japan 

On March 27 1912, Japan sent 3,000 cherry blossom trees as a gift to the United States to create a long-lasting friendship. The Department of Agriculture discovered that 2,000 of the cherry blossom trees were infested with insects and parasitic worms. 

About two years later,  Japan sent the US more cherry blossom trees. In 1915 the US gave the people of Japan some flowering dogwood trees.                                                                                                            

National Cherry Blossom Festival

DC holds an annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Between 1.5 to 1.6 million people each year attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival. At the beginning of the festival an opening ceremony parade takes place as well as other performances. In the parade, there are a number of creative/jaw dropping floats and some celebrities come to take part in the festivities. There are also giant helium balloons in the parade. 

National Cherry Blossom Festival 2021

This year the festival will be held on March 20- April 11 of 2021. However, due to COVID the cherry blossom parade will not happen. The festival will occur online for the safety of the viewers. The other popular in person events will not go on this year such as PetalPalooza, the kite festival, and the fireworks. A few of the events that will be online are the opening ceremony, Pin Tie Party, celebration show, and the cherry blossom viewing. 


Valor Dictus questioned a number of Robinson students on the topic of cherry blossoms. The participants were given the following yes or no question: “Have you ever been to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC?” The data shows that half of the participants have gone while the other half has not been to the festival in DC. When surveyed students agreed that cherry blossoms can be described as beautiful, innocent, sweet, and puffy. Several stated that when they see cherry blossoms it symbolizes a new start. 


When you see the cherry blossom trees blooming then spring has come. The cherry blossom festival may be affected but the cherry blossoms will not change; they will still come back to bloom each season. When spring comes around, always look forward to the cherry blossoms blooming and the celebration of hope. Remember that cherry blossoms represent hope, so keep that in mind for the upcoming days/years.