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story.lead_photo.caption The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is seen behind blooming cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin April 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Many cultures around the world celebrate spring with beautiful festivals, welcoming the warmth and the new life that it brings. The United States has its own springtime festival, too.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the biggest springtime festival in the United States and is held in Washington, D.C., for four weeks. Besides welcoming spring and the beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom around the city, the festival also commemorates friendship.

Back in 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted the city of Washington, D.C., with 3,000 Japanese cherry trees to honor the friendship between Japan and the United States. The first lady, Helen Taft, and Iwa Chinda, the wife of the Japanese ambassador at the time, directed the planting in the Tidal Basin, one of the most photographed parts of the city to this day.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival began in 1927 and is now is almost 100 years old. Hosting performers from Japan and the U.S., it remains a gesture of friendship and international goodwill.

This year, some of the festival's activities will be held virtually on the festival's website. It even features a Bloom Cam for those who'd love to experience the beauty of the blossoms themselves. The festival begins March 20 and ends April 11, 2021. This year's peak bloom is expected to be around April 2-5.

If you are interested in traveling to participate in the festival, please see the list of participating hotels on the festival's website. Some are beautiful historic hotels that are truly a step back in time, while others pay homage to the city's forward-looking culture.

Cherry blossoms line the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C.

Cherry blossoms line the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. (photo courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Participants can enjoy the opening ceremony with performers from Japan and Washington, D.C. from their homes on March 20. March 26's Pink Tie Party, as well as April 9's Celebration Show, will also be held virtually.

Please visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival website for more information, to buy merchandise and more.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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