Sakura Sunday is the culmination of the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival, a day of all types of Japanese cultural events – including tea ceremony, of course! We actually had two days of demonstrations, a private event at the Japanese House on Saturday, and the free public demonstrations on Sunday.
We were incredibly lucky with the weather. Normally, Philadelphia’s Cherry Blossom Festival is held a week after the one in Washington, D.C. In Washington, it’s just enough warmer than Philly that usually the timing turns out perfectly. However, this year Washington’s is the third weekend in April, and the second weekend in April is, of course, Easter. So Philadelphia’s was the first weekend in April, and we were all concerned that it would be too early for the actual cherry blossoms. But the week before we had a nice warm spell, and the day of the festival was clear, sunny, and in the 60s, so the trees were just starting to bloom.
Here’s a photo of the blossoms:
The public demonstrations went really well. We had two demos, and since there was only limited space in the room where we set up, the festival organizers had sign-up sheets. We not only filled up the space, but had people sitting on the floor to get in. The teas were done by Mariko-sensei, with Drew (in green kimono, with his back to the camera) demonstrating how to be the guest, myself narrating, and some help from students Mary Lynn (blue kimono) and Terry (pink kimono), and tea friend Brandon (kneeling to take a photo in this picture).
The guests seemed to really enjoy the tea, and asked a lot of good questions. It was great to be able to connect with them!
After the tea, it was almost closing time for the festival, but we all got to walk around for a little while and admire the day. Along the way, someone snapped a photo of three mysterious tea people in kimono: