In Japan, cherry blossoms are revered. They symbolize new beginnings and fleeting beauty. Throughout the nation, flocks of people participate in cherry blossom appreciation picnics called hanami. Just as Americans are prone to flavor dishes with chocolate or coffee, Japanese have invented butter and cherry blossom potato chips. Pepsi has introduced a cherry blossom flavored version of its signature beverage. And cherry blossoms bloom throughout Japanese literature.
In the United States, the largest number of cherry blossom trees bloom in Newark, New Jersey’s Branch Brook Park. After a trip to Japan in the 1920’s, Caroline Bamberger Fuld of department store fame donated more than 2000 trees to the park. Here’s what Branch Brook Park looked like on April 2, six days before the cherry blossom festival: