by Danni Ma
People from different walks of life enjoyed the cherry blossoms and the Rose Garden at Auburn’s Japanese Gardens, and the variety of musical performances, demonstrations, workshops and activities during the Cherry Blossom Festival in August.
Traditionally, Japanese gardens became places to stroll and enjoy the peace and beauty during the Edo period in the 17th and 18th centuries. Japanese sakura, (cherry blossoms) bloom once a year for about two weeks, providing a beautiful spectacle that attracts many visitors to the gardens.
Greg Hodges, Curator of Auburn Botanical Gardens, says, “This is the fourth year, and it doubles in size every year; we get good publicity. It’s a very popular festival.”
In Japanese culture, cherry blossom is the symbol of life. “They shake the trees for good luck and so the petals falls down. We stop them shaking here, so we don’t lose all our petals,” Mr Hodges says. The Auburn gardens have up to 18 different types of cherry blossom trees.
Jenny Cheesman, the art coordinator on Auburn Council, says, “We don’t have a Japanese population here at Auburn, but the Japanese garden is known its beauty, so it’s a place for local people to come to visit. We are really pleased to have so many visitors over this Cherry Blossom Festival weekend.”
Kieran Smith, an IT student studying in TAFE, is addicted to Japanese cartoons and comics. So during this festival, he dressed up as a famous Japanese comic character with golden hair. “I’m keen on cosplaying,” he says. “The Cherry Blossom Festival provides a great stage for us to show others know more about Japanese culture.”
Holly Chen, a Chinese volunteer at the Botanical Garden, has been a volunteer for almost seven years. She likes helping people and really enjoys the experience.
Resident Susan Browne, says “I visit three times a week, and I always stay here for a whole day with my husband during the Cherry Blossom Festival. It puts me in a great spirit and I forget all the sad things.”
Wiyna Jould, a shuttle bus driver said, “It’s great fun, it’s enjoyable, and we get people from all over the world. At this time of the year, the cherry trees are particular beautiful.”