Cherry Blossoms Festival

Victoria Bullion, Volunteer Writer

It was a comfortable seventy-five degrees and breezy on the lawn of Powers Hall on March 22nd, 2022, and while the cherry blossom trees were bare, that failed to stump the celebration of the festival. Students and professors alike dressed in picnic attire and queued up for a cherry blossom-designed shirt and a presentation on the history of the Cherry Blossoms presented by Japanese exchange students within the building. Although the presentation was temporarily set back by the university’s internet outage that day, the Navigators were determined and had the slideshow up and running with only being a few minutes behind. 

It was presented by Japanese Exchange Students themselves, showing us the beautiful nature of their home country. “Cherry Blossoms are believed by Japanese people to be a symbolism of human life, as they are short lived, yet they are beautiful.” One of the presenters stated, teaching us how cherry blossoms also grow at different times of the year for different locations in Japan, with the trees blooming earlier in the warm south, and later in the colder parts of the north. Attendees were also taught that the popular sushi here in America, the California Roll, did not exist in Japan. 

After the presentation, attendees were guided out onto the lawn of Powers Hall, where picnic blankets and beach towels were draped along the grass and Japanese music was playing for everyone’s delight. Attendees were then served Yakisoba, a piece of sushi of their choosing that ranged from California Rolls to Sashimi, or another choice of Gyoza, also well known as Pot Stickers. There was also miso soup, green tea, and finally finished off by a choice of a popular Japanese snack. All of the Navigators were extremely friendly and were not afraid to teach anyone about any of the food that they might have had questions about. 

It was a breath of fresh air to see so many students of so many different cultures and ages coming out and enjoying the warm weather after sticking indoors due to a cold spell that Alabama was hit with earlier in the month. Although the date was changed for the event due to the cold weather and the event itself was short-lived due to the temperature dropping with Tuesday’s storms preparing to roll in, there was still a huge turnout that ensures the festival will continue to live on at UNA for years to come.