Cherry Blossom Trees lit up along the Hocking River
Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing
Mar 29, 2017
By Nick Claussen
Ohio University will be lighting up the grove of Cherry Trees near the Hocking River and the Convocation Center this week.
The tree lighting began on Monday, March 27 and will continue at least through Sunday, April 2. The trees may be lit up until Wednesday, April 5, depending on the weather and the cherry blossoms. The area around the trees is being lit up from 8 to 10 p.m. each evening, and the trees look spectacular.
All OHIO students, faculty, staff and area residents are invited to see the evening view of the trees, which have become a landmark of the Ohio University campus.
Over the years the flowering trees have become a symbol of spring’s arrival in Athens. They have been featured in local publications and Ohio University websites, and given generations of OHIO students one of the most endearing memories of the city and the campus.
Ohio University was given the cherry trees as a gift from Chubu University, the university’s longtime partner university in Kasugai, Japan. The trees were first planted in 1979 under the direction of OHIO President Charles Ping and President Kazuo Yamada of Chubu University. Chubu gifted the cherry blossom trees to represent its relationship with Ohio University and later brought the grove’s total to 200 trees after another gift for the Ohio University’s bicentennial.
Each year when the trees bloom, Ohio University lights them up as they do in Japan. This year’s tree lighting features the new LED lights that were installed last year, fewer light poles and no competing light from baseball games at the nearby Wren Stadium because the Bobcats baseball team is playing away games this week.
For additional information on the Cherry Trees, please visit www.ohio.edu/cherryblossoms
Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom and each year in Japan (and many other places around the world) people watch the cherry trees (and weather forecasts) in anticipation of the blooms. The blooms are very short lived, but the trees look amazing when in full bloom. People will have picnics under the trees during the day and parties at night. The celebration of the flowers is actually called Hanami (“flower party”).
The Ohio University Japanese Student Association’s largest event is centered on the cherry blossoms, or sakuras. The JSA will host its annual Sakura Festival at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 16. The festival showcases Japanese culture with traditional food, dancing and performances. It also signals the New Year, which begins in April for Japan. For more information about the festival, contact student Mioko Nemec at email@example.com.