Photo by Clayton Perry
For about two weeks each spring, one of the most colourful of flowers is in full bloom.
A time of re-awakening, the second annual Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival April 8 at Garry Point Park is also an opportunity for residents to celebrate another cultural gift.
“While many think of Richmond today as being very diverse, it really goes back to the roots of the community,” says City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend.
While most everyone welcomes the arrival of the cherry blossoms, they are especially synonymous with the Japanese community, he notes.
In Japan, cherry blossoms are seen as a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and associated with mortality. They are often reflected in Japanese art.
Garry Point Park is home to 255 Akebono cherry trees planted by the B.C. Wakayama Kenjin Kai (Association) with the support of the City of Richmond.
“Last April, in spite of a strong and gusting westerly wind, the first Cherry Blossom Festival in Richmond, hosted by the B.C. Wakayama Kenjin Kai, was successful in introducing the audience to experience an authentic cherry blossom festival as celebrated in Japan,” said event organizer Jim Tanaka. “It is hoped that a grove of 255 Akebono cherry trees will not only bring the seed of enjoyment, but become part of the essence of the quality of life for our diversified island community and the visitors for years to come.”
Tanaka added that Mary Hirano, the event co-organizer, chose harmony as the theme of this year’s festival, to bring the diversified community together, to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones and rekindle the sense of community.
The free, public event will take place on Sunday, April 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
View the beautiful cherry blossoms on display, take part in cultural demonstrations, enjoy local eats and be amazed by the performances by a local Taiko drum group and dancers.
For more, visit www.richmond.ca/cherryblossom.