Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival 2022
Following a two year hiatus courtesy of COVID-19, Cumberland City Council hosted the Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival in August with the theme “Love, Peace, and Blossoms”. The festival celebrated the Japanese custom of Hanami, where people view blooming cherry blossoms to welcome spring, new beginnings and show reverence for nature.
There was a mad dash for tickets – limited for COVID-19 concerns – as the main attraction, the Auburn Botanical Garden’s cherry blossoms, were only in bloom for 2 weeks. The pandemic has stunted access to culture and community, with loneliness and isolation on the rise, and this festival was one of the Council’s first opportunities to enact their Cultural Plan, developed in 2019.
The Flower Power stage saw a range of live cultural events, including ‘Ikebana with us’, a demonstration of Japanese flower arranging. Nikki Zeng, Founder and Chief Designer at Peony Story, hosted this event and recalls, “People from all different ethnic backgrounds were asking questions and genuinely interested in finding out more about Japanese culture and this ritual… they’re all sharing the same interest in nature, in flowers.”
The diversity present not only in the food and experiences – including a Putt Putt course which delighted community members of all ages – but in the visitors and their engagement, as Zeng points out, shows the Cultural Plan’s aim to “provide opportunities for community connections and cross-cultural understanding” has been achieved.
Photo by Marissa Wilkinson
Photo by Cumberland City Council
Article by Marissa Wilkinson