These photos were taken Sunday, March 15 at the 4th Annual Torrance Cherry Blossom Cultural Festival, which was held in the southeast corner of Columbia Park in Torrance. The free, family friendly event was sponsored in part by the City of Torrance, the North Torrance Homeowners Association, the Torrance Sister City Association, Torrance Craftsmens Guild, and Soka Gakkai International-Buddhist Association for Peace, Culture and Education. Entertainment was provided by Susan Manns Wahine Ilikea Dancers performing Polynesian dances, O-Edo Ichi-Za performing traditional Japanese fan dances, and Myoon Taiko drumming. There were also several food trucks available and one of them even sold Japanese food. There were booths with arts and crafts for sale by the Torrance Craftsmens Guild.
Columbia Park has over 110 cherry blossom trees that were donated by Soka Gakkai International-USA. The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom symbolizes hope, virtue and new beginnings while also representing the fragility and the beauty of life. It is a reminder that life can be very beautiful but that it can also be tragically short. I think one of the most surprising things about yesterday’s event is that even with the extremely odd [non]winter we had, the trees still knew what weekend they needed to bloom for us.