VANCOUVER, April 3 (Xinhua) -- The annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Vancouver opened with drumming, dancing and singing in the city center on Thursday, marking the beginning of spring and the end of the rainy season.
Every year at this time in Vancouver, a pink wave washes over the city. This wave comes in the form of nearly 40,000 blooming cherry trees that have helped to bring color to the west coast for more than 80 years, after they were introduced from overseas.
Linda Poole, the festival's executive director, told Xinhua that she founded the festival in 2006. "We had, at that time, 36,000 flowering cherry trees, why couldn't I start this festival in Vancouver? Wouldn't it be the perfect idea? So that's how it sort of got started."
Poole said the cherry tree is a symbol of eternal friendship between people of different countries and races, and the event prompts busy Vancouverites to slow down and take stock.
"The festival aims to get us all to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the city and to get a fresh perspective on life amid all of our rushing around."
While the cherry trees may offer visitors a chance to make new friends beneath the blooms, they also offer inspiration to the creative minds among us, such as artist Alfonso Tejada, whose art and painting is inspired by the flowers and the festival activities.
"I particularly like it because it's a unique opportunity in Vancouver to see all these cherry trees. You know, they last only for about four weeks and after that there is nothing else. This is the only tone of color that we have in Vancouver every year, and what a better way to celebrate?" he said.
A young couple with their two little daughters were among the crowd enjoying the view at a festival site, one of the most famous canopies of cherry blossom in the entire city. They said they came here every festival to encourage their daughters to love nature, beauty and multiculture.
The festival runs until the end of April with special events taking place daily throughout the city, such as lectures, painting classes and walking tours among Vancouver's blossoms.