It’s more than just the trees, of course. The famous Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (April 4-30, 2013) is a union of different art-forms and perspectives, and consequently it is a fantastic time to be in town. Here are some specific reasons why.
1. Painting in plein-air: At the VanDusen Botanical Garden, weekly lessons give cherry blossom fans a chance to bring their own equipment and get advice from the painting pros. Painting fruit on a table indoors never stood a chance.
2. Haiku: It’s well-known that 5-7-5 is the Japanese syllable pattern of this three-line poem (in English haiku, the count is more flexible), but it’s not as well-known that traditional haiku are also meant to contain a kigo – a season keyword, so to speak, that sets up the nature and environment-related framework of the piece. You can flex your springtime vocabulary by submitting your cherry blossom poetry to the festival’s Haiku Invitational.
3. Umbrella-wielding flash mobs: You could go to a rehearsal, buy a limited edition VCBF umbrella, and surprise passers-by with your choreographed umbrella dance moves, which will be busted out at random. Or, even better, you can be one of the many lucky strangers who happen to be at the right place at the right time (hint: April 13th).
4. Origami: Make your own cherry blossom origami that stays in full bloom forever (VCBF provide instructions here) and get to know the simple-but-intricate beauty of the blossom that inspires this annual festival.
5. Metaphors: Witnessing nature’s innate ability to rejuvenate itself and incorporate death and life (and everything in between) into a self-renewing, self-affirming cycle is, to put it simply, humbling. There’s nothing like a cherry blossom (especially 40,000 trees’ worth of them) to put it all in perspective by boiling down superficial concerns and exhibiting them in a, well, natural way.