Symbolizing the return of spring, travelers flock to catch a glimpse of the fragrant, pink blooms that were first made famous in Japan but appear worldwide. Delicate in nature and color, cherry blossoms, or sakura, mirror human life—beautiful, cherished, but brief.
Hanami, or flower-viewing parties, date back to the 9th century when Japanese emperors would hold celebrations for the cherry and plum blossoms that would bud in early spring. The world’s love for cherry blossoms have not diminished. (See beautiful photos of Japan's cherry blossoms.)
While venturing out to see these fleeting blooms this year is not advisable due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trust for the National Mall along with its partners, the National Park Service and The National Cherry Blossom Festival, are streaming live from the National Mall Tidal Basin, so cherry blossom lovers can still experience peak bloom from the comfort of their home.
Want more blossoms? Members of our Your Shot photography community took these pictures, capturing both the simple, yet stunning beauty of the season and the joy it brings to people.
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Starlight Williams is an editorial researcher and writer at National Geographic. Follow her on Twitter @star_lightw and Instagram @starlightwilliams.
Update: This story was originally published on March 18, 2019. It was republished March 20, 2020, to reflect new ways to view cherry blossoms during the coronavirus pandemic.