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Cherry blossoms at the National Mall, Washington, DC  

Cherry blossoms at the National Mall, Washington, DC

This week marks the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the city of Washington, DC, in 1912. The National Park Service says that during a two-week period each spring, the festival draws more than one million visitors to the National Mall, aka America’s Front Yard. In Japan, the custom of picnicking under the cherry blossoms is known as ‘hanami,’ and it’s said to be more spectacular at night, when revelers hang lanterns from the tree branches to illuminate the blooms.

© Sean Pavone/Alamy

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