Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Birmingham Cherry Blossom Festival

The Japanese tradition of hanami (literally "flower viewing") dates back to the 8th century and celebrates the transient nature of flowers, specifically cherry blossoms (sakura), which bloom in early spring. While originally the tradition was limited to elite classes who would drink sake and read poetic tributes to the flowers, today the tradition has a wider reach.

In Japan, people gather in parks and have feasts under blossoming trees until late into the night. Since the beginning of the last century, hanami has spread throughout Asia and across the world.

Birmingham has had its own Sakura Festival for a number of years, sponsored by the Japan America Society of Alabama - a one day event held at the Japanese Garden in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This year there will be a month-long festival of events and activities, culminating with the large festival at the Botanical Gardens.

  • February 23 to March 15: Haiku Contest For more information and to register: visit
  • Sunday, March 2, 3:00 to 5:00 pm, Doll Festival
    Central Library, Storycastle, 2nd Floor. Featuring Japanese hina dolls, a tea ceremony, origami workshops, and Miss Iwate, the Japanese friendship doll who has called BPL home since 1928. Bring your favorite doll!
  • Friday, March 7, 6:30 to 9:00 pm Bards, Brews, & Haiku
    Central Library, First Floor. Special edition of B&B featuring haiku and sake tasting, as well as performance poetry and beer. Crafts will be sold as a fundraiser for restoring Miss Iwate.
  • Saturday, March 8, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Haiku Workshop Central Library, Storycastle. Led by Terri French, coordinator of the Southeast Chapter of the Haiku Society of America. Registration required, call 205-226-3670.
  • Saturday, March 15, 10:00 am. Sushi-Making Class Birmingham Botanical Gardens Education classrooms.
  • Saturday, March 22nd, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Japanese Garden.
    This will be the main event of the Sakura Festival and will feature a variety of activities.
  • Saturday, March 22, 3:15 pm Japanese anime movie showing in the Administration Building, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.Saturday, March 22, 3:15 pm Japanese anime movie showing in the Administration Building, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

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