Cherry Blossom Festival
In November 2016, Meghalaya became the first state in the country to start a Cherry Blossom Festival, which is widely celebrated in Japan. The four day festival in Meghalaya will be celebrated between 14-17 November. With the blooming of cherry blossoms, Shillong and the entire East Khasi Hills have turned into pink in this November. This event has been organised in partnership with Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), which is a national institute of the Centre’s Department of Biotechnology.
The Cherry Blossom Festival is popularly known as Sakura Festival in Japan. In Japan, it usually takes place in the month of April every year. Australia, Korea, china, and the US are the other countries in which the Cherry Blossom festival is celebrated.
Prunus cerasoides, or the Wild Himalayan cherry tree, blooms every year in India during the autumn season. It has different blooming season when compared with its cousins in Japan and Korea, which blooms during the spring season. Prunus cerasoides is native to the Himalayan region and grows abundantly in Shillong, and thereby covers the rolling green hills with shades of pink and white. In 1980s big scale plantation of the species was undertaken by the forest department for aesthetic reasons.
The festival helped to portray Meghalaya as a global tourist destination and to showcase its traditional arts, culture and cuisine to the tourists. Interestingly, 2017 was declared by UN as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.