California's Cherry Blossom Festival

 

Most people will say that the most perfect month to visit California is in the month of April. There are a lot of festivities that both locals and tourists can enjoy from different places during this month. For Asian Americans, these festivals are a great excuse to reunite and meet one another. Among these celebrations is the famous Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown.

The historical Japantowns become more lively during the celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival. It is known as the largest Asian festival to be celebrated in California. Numerous people of all nationalities flock to this annual festival particularly in the Japan Peace Plaza in San Francisco. Amidst the few blocks wide, the plaza can be filled with traditional Japanese food, music and performances. The lively celebration will finally be held both offline and online after its two years of virtual festival due to the pandemic surge since 2020. People can enjoy the festival on April 9, 10, 16 and 17. 


Formerly known as Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, this annual festival was first held in March 1968 and is now in its 55th year. Both Japanese and Japanese-Americans started this festival as a celebration of the opening of Japan Center Malls along with the main intention of helping the Japanese-American community boost their businesses back then. It also symbolizes the strengthening bond of the United States and Japan. It started as a simple celebrant, but due to high-popularity from thousands of visitors pre-pandemic, it slowly grew making it one of the most popular festivals in the state of California. 


Photo credits: Jill Loeffler (SF Tourism Tips)

Authentic Japanese food in all categories prepared by local Japanese can be enjoyed during the duration of the celebration. Udon, mochi and Sapporo beer are some of the must-haves when you attend the festival. To fully enjoy the celebration, the volunteers are always preparing different programs each day that unites the visitors, encouraging social interactions and a great way to introduce Japanese culture.


The highlight of the festival is the grand parade showcasing different Japanese traditions and the different organizations and communities who contributed to the annual festival. Sadly, there will still be no parade this year, but visitors can still enjoy the live tea ceremony, music and even return to your childhood by visiting the Sanrio Kids Corner.


The Cherry Blossom Festival is not just a mere celebration that is celebrated annually. More than the historical entertainment that it offers, the preservation of Japanese culture is what matters the most despite the long distance that separates its people from their mother country.


Written by: Yam Pernecita


Yam Pernecita is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is a 4th-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student from Far Eastern University in Manila, Philippines.


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