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US-Japan Friendship Blossoms in Full Bloom for Annual Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual springtime celebration in Washington, D.C., that honors the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo to the United States. The festival typically takes place in late March and early April, when the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin and other parts of the city are in bloom.

Early History

The first cherry blossom festival in Washington, D.C., was held in 1927. It was a small event, with just a few hundred people attending. However, the festival quickly grew in popularity, and by the 1930s, it was attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

World War II and the Festival’s Decline

The festival was interrupted during World War II, when the cherry trees were mistakenly thought to be a symbol of Japan and were cut down. After the war, the festival was revived, but it never regained its former popularity.

The Festival’s Revival 

In the 1960s, the festival was revived thanks to the efforts of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. Johnson planted a new cherry tree in the Tidal Basin in 1965, and the festival was officially reinstated the following year.

The Festival Today

Today, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular events in Washington, D.C. It attracts over 1 million visitors each year. The festival includes a variety of events, such as parades, concerts, and art exhibits.

The Cherry Trees

The cherry trees that are the focus of the festival are a variety of Japanese flowering cherry called the Yoshino cherry. These trees are known for their beautiful pink blossoms, which typically bloom in late March and early April. There are over 3,800 Yoshino cherry trees in Washington, D.C., most of which are located around the Tidal Basin.

The Festival’s Impact

The National Cherry Blossom Festival has a significant impact on the Washington, D.C., economy. The festival generates over $100 million in revenue each year. It also helps to promote tourism in the city.

The Festival’s Future

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a cherished tradition in Washington, D.C. The festival is a reminder of the friendship between the United States and Japan, and it is a celebration of the beauty of nature.

The First Day of Spring and Renewal is Here!

The first day of spring is the day when the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving northward. This usually occurs on March 20th or 21st in the Northern Hemisphere, and September 22nd or 23rd in the Southern Hemisphere. The spring equinox is the moment when day and night are of equal length all over the world.

The spring equinox marks the astronomical beginning of spring. In many cultures, it is a time of celebration and renewal. People often gather to celebrate the return of longer days and warmer weather.

Here are some interesting facts about the first day of spring and the spring equinox:

  • The word “equinox” comes from the Latin words “aequus” (equal) and “nox” (night).
  • The spring equinox is the only day of the year when the Sun rises due east and sets due west everywhere on Earth.
  • The spring equinox is the start of the astrological sign of Aries.
  • In many cultures, the spring equinox is associated with fertility and new beginnings.
  • In ancient Egypt, the spring equinox was celebrated with a festival called the “Feast of the First Harrow.”
  • In ancient Greece, the spring equinox was celebrated with a festival called the “Thesmophoria.”
  • In ancient Rome, the spring equinox was celebrated with a festival called the “Equirria.”

Nowruz, the Farsi word for “new day,” also known as the Iranian or Persian New Year, is a festival celebrated widely by over 300 million people around the world. Nowruz is an ancient festival with roots in Zoroastrianism that marks the beginning of the Iranian Solar Hijri calendar and falls on or around the spring equinox, typically between March 19th and March 21st. The festival is generally observed in countries along the Silk Roads, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The spring equinox is a time of change and renewal. It is a time to let go of the old and embrace the new. It is a time to celebrate the beauty of the natural world and the joy of life.

DC Offers $2K E-Bike Program for Needy Residents

DC’s Electric Bicycle Incentive Program

The District of Columbia’s Electric Bicycle Incentive Program (EBIP) will soon provide vouchers of up to $2,000 to some District residents who purchase an electric bicycle. The program is designed to encourage the use of electric bicycles as a clean and sustainable transportation option. Ward 6 council member Charles Allen introduced legislation creating D.C.’s E-Bike incentive program.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the EBIP, you must be a District resident and purchase an electric bicycle from a participating retailer. The bicycle must be new and have a motor that is no larger than 750 watts. “DDOT will open the first application window to Preferred Applicants only. A Preferred Applicant is a District resident enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, or the DC Healthcare Alliance. If funds are still available, a second application window will open to Standard Applicants. DDOT anticipates fulfilling approximately 250 vouchers with the FY24 funding.”

How to Apply

To apply for the EBIP, you must submit an application to the District Department of Transportation(DDOT). The application and additional information is available HERE

Benefits of Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles offer a number of benefits over traditional bicycles, including:

  • Reduced emissions: Electric bicycles produce zero emissions, making them a more environmentally friendly transportation option.
  • Increased range: Electric bicycles can travel further than traditional bicycles, making them a good option for commuting or running errands.
  • Reduced strain: Electric bicycles provide a boost of power, making it easier to ride up hills or carry heavy loads.
  • Convenience: Electric bicycles are easy to ride and can be used by people of all ages and abilities.

The retailers listed below are Authorized Retailers and have an agreement with DDOT. They are the only shops where you can redeem a voucher.

Authorized Retailers

Bicycle Pro Shop 3403 M St NW
Bicycle SPACE 1512 Okie St NE
Conte’s Bike Shop – Cathedral Heights 3410 Wisconsin Ave NW
Conte’s Bike Shop – Logan Circle 1412 Q St NW
Conte’s Bike Shop – Navy Yard 1331 4th St, Suite 107, SE
REI Bike Shop 201 M St NE
The Daily Rider 600 H St, Suite D, NE
Trek – Georgetown 3411 M St NW
Trek – Skyland 2227 Town Ctr Dr. SE
King Micromobility 502 23rd St NW
Mittens Pop-Up Mobile
Upshift Workshop Mobile

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America

St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in America since the 1730s, when Irish immigrants began arriving in large numbers. The holiday was initially a religious observance, but it gradually evolved into a more secular celebration of Irish culture and heritage.

In the early days, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated mainly by Irish immigrants and their descendants. However, as the Irish population grew and assimilated into American society, the holiday became more widely celebrated. By the end of the 19th century, St. Patrick’s Day was being celebrated in cities and towns across the United States.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in America. It is a day for people of all backgrounds to come together and celebrate Irish culture and heritage. The holiday is typically celebrated with parades, parties, and other festivities.

Here are some of the highlights of St. Patrick’s Day in America:

  • The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. It is held on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and attracts over 2 million people each year.
  • The Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is also one of the largest in the world. It is held on South Boston and attracts over 1 million people each year.
  • The Chicago River Dyeing is a unique St. Patrick’s Day tradition in Chicago. On the morning of March 17, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate the holiday.
  • The White House St. Patrick’s Day Reception is an annual event hosted by the President of the United States. The reception is attended by Irish-American leaders and other guests.

Click HERE for St. Patrick’s Day events in Washington, DC. Also, HERE are 9 ways the Washingtonian offers as options to celebrate this year’s Irish heritage event.

The Killing of a White Civil Rights Champion in America

In early March 1965, a peaceful crowd of 600 people began a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to show their support for Black voting rights. Police armed with batons, pepper spray, and guns attacked the marchers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in a violent assault that came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”

After the attack, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other organizers remained determined to complete the march. Dr. King urged clergy to come to Selma and join the march to Montgomery. Hundreds of clergy from across the country heeded the call and traveled to Selma; one of them was the Reverend James Reeb, a 38-year-old white Unitarian minister from Boston.

On March 9th, Dr. King led 2,500 marchers onto the Edmund Pettus Bridge for a short prayer session. That evening, three white ministers–Orloff Miller, Clark Olsen, and James Reeb–were attacked and beaten by a group of white men opposed to their civil rights work. The Rev. Reeb was struck in the head with a club and suffered a severe skull fracture and brain damage.

Fearing that he would not be treated at the “white only” Selma Hospital, doctors at Selma’s Black Burwell Infirmary ordered the Rev. Reeb rushed to the Birmingham hospital. After a series of unfortunate events, including car trouble and confrontations with local police, the Rev. Reeb reached the hospital in Birmingham in critical condition. He died on March 11, 1965, leaving behind his wife and four children. Three white men later indicted for the Rev. Reeb’s murder were ultimately acquitted by an all-white jury.

More widely reported than the death of local Black activist Jimmie Lee Jackson a few weeks earlier, the Rev. Reeb’s death brought national attention to the voting rights struggle. The death also moved President Lyndon B. Johnson to call a special session of Congress, where he urged legislators to pass the Voting Rights Act. Congress did so, and President Johnson signed the act into law in August 1965.

For more on the history of racial injustice in America, follow Equal Justice Initiative, (EJI).

The U.S. Springs Forward for Daylight Saving 2024

Daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks during warmer months so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. It is intended to make better use of daylight and reduce the need for artificial lighting. In the U.S., clocks will officially spring forward at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10, 2024.

There are a number of potential benefits to DST, including:

  • Energy savings: Studies have shown that DST can lead to reduced electricity usage, as people are less likely to use artificial lighting in the evenings.
  • Reduced crime: Some studies have also suggested that DST may be associated with reduced crime rates, as there is more daylight in the evenings when people are typically out and about.
  • Improved mood and well-being: Increased exposure to sunlight has been linked to improved mood and well-being.
  • Increased opportunities for outdoor activities: With more daylight in the evenings, people have more time to enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, biking, and gardening.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to DST, including:

  • Disrupted sleep schedules: Switching to DST can disrupt sleep schedules, as people may need to adjust to going to bed and waking up earlier.
  • Increased risk of accidents: Some studies have suggested that DST may be associated with an increased risk of car accidents, as people may be more tired in the mornings when driving to work or school.
  • Negative effects on health: Some people may experience negative effects on their health, such as fatigue, irritability, and headaches, when switching to DST.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to implement DST is a complex one that must be made on a case-by-case basis. There are both potential benefits and drawbacks to DST, and the decision should be based on the specific circumstances of each country or region.

Paying Tribute to Women on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the achievements of women and to advocate for gender equality. It is a day to reflect on the progress that has been made towards gender equality and to call for further action.

History of International Women’s Day

The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911, and it was organized by the Socialist Party of America. The day was chosen to commemorate the 1908 strike by female garment workers in New York City. The strike was successful in winning better working conditions for women, and it helped to raise awareness of the need for gender equality.

International Women’s Day became an official holiday in the Soviet Union in 1921, and it was later adopted by other countries around the world. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating March 8 as International Women’s Day.

Themes of International Women’s Day

Each year, International Women’s Day has a different theme. The theme for 2024 is “Investing in women: Accelerate progress.” International Women’s Day (IWD) organizers said, “When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment. Collectively, let’s forge a more inclusive world for women.”

How to Celebrate International Women’s Day

There are many ways to celebrate International Women’s Day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Attend a local event or rally.
  • Learn about the history of International Women’s Day.
  • Read books or articles about women’s rights.
  • Watch movies or documentaries about women’s issues.
  • Donate to an organization that supports women’s rights.
  • Talk to your friends and family about inspiring inclusion.

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and to call for further action towards gender equality. It is a day to reflect on the progress that has been made and to renew our commitment to creating a better world for all women and girls.

 

Commemorating the Vital Roles of Women in American History

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is an annual celebration of the contributions women have made to society throughout history. It is a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of women, and to celebrate their achievements. Women’s History Month began as a national celebration in the United States in 1987, and has since become a global event. It is typically celebrated in March, and is a time for schools, businesses, and organizations to host events and activities that highlight the role of women in history.

There are many ways to celebrate Women’s History Month. Some popular activities include:

  • Attending events and activities: Many schools, businesses, and organizations host events and activities during Women’s History Month. These events may include lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, and art exhibits.
  • Learning about women’s history: There are many resources available to learn about women’s history. Books, articles, and websites can provide information about the lives and achievements of women from all walks of life.
  • Supporting women-owned businesses: One way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to support women-owned businesses. This can be done by shopping at women-owned stores, eating at women-owned restaurants, and using the services of women-owned businesses.
  • Volunteering for organizations that support women: There are many organizations that work to support women and girls. Volunteering for one of these organizations is a great way to give back to the community and make a difference in the lives of women.

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the progress that has been made towards gender equality, and to recognize the work that still needs to be done. It is a time to inspire and empower women and girls everywhere.

Here are some additional stories and resources that highlight the contributions of women and significance of women’s history month:

Leap Years and Their Significance

A leap year is a year that has 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. This is done to keep our calendar in sync with the Earth’s orbit around the sun.

The Earth’s orbit around the sun takes approximately 365.242 days. This means that every four years, we “lose” about 0.242 days. Over time, this would cause our calendar to drift out of sync with the seasons.

To compensate for this, we add an extra day to the calendar every four years. This is called a leap year.

How to Determine a Leap Year

There are a few rules to determine whether a year is a leap year:

  • If the year is divisible by 400, it is a leap year.
  • If the year is divisible by 100 but not by 400, it is not a leap year.
  • If the year is divisible by 4 but not by 100, it is a leap year.

For example, 2000 was a leap year because it is divisible by 400. 1900 was not a leap year because it is divisible by 100 but not by 400. 2024 will be a leap year because it is divisible by 4.

Significance of Leap Year

Leap years have a few significant implications:

  • Calendar Accuracy: Leap years help keep our calendar in sync with the Earth’s orbit around the sun. This is important for many reasons, such as planning agricultural activities and religious holidays.
  • Timekeeping: Leap years ensure that our clocks and watches remain accurate. Without leap years, our timekeeping would gradually drift out of sync with the Earth’s rotation.
  • Cultural Traditions: Leap years are associated with various cultural traditions and superstitions. For example, in some cultures, it is considered good luck to get married in a leap year.

Overall, leap years are an essential part of our calendar system. They help ensure that our calendar remains accurate and in sync with the Earth’s orbit around the sun.

2024 Prince George’s County Spelling Bee

ABOUT THE EVENT

The 2024 Prince George’s County Spelling Bee is presented by The Washington Informer. Watch the top spellers in the county compete for a chance to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee!

National Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is an annual spelling bee held in the United States. It is open to students in grades 1-8 who have won their local and regional spelling bees.

The bee is held in Washington, D.C., and the winner receives a trophy, a cash prize, and a trip to New York City.

History

The National Spelling Bee was first held in 1925. It was created by Frank Neuhauser, a journalist for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Neuhauser was inspired to create the bee after he saw a spelling bee at a local school.

The bee was originally called the National Spelling Contest. It was renamed the National Spelling Bee in 1941.

Format

The National Spelling Bee is a single-elimination tournament. The competition begins with a preliminary round, in which the spellers are given a list of words to spell. The spellers who spell all of the words correctly advance to the next round.

The final round of the bee is held on stage at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The spellers are given a list of words to spell, and they are eliminated one by one until only one speller remains.

Winners

The winner of the National Spelling Bee receives the Scripps Cup, a trophy that is named after the Scripps family, which has sponsored the bee since 1925. The winner also receives a cash prize of $50,000 and a trip to New York City.

Some of the most famous winners of the National Spelling Bee include:

  • Frank Neuhauser (1925)
  • Jacques Bailly (1980)
  • Rebecca Sealfon (1997)
  • Nupur Lala (2015)
  • Zaila Avant-garde (2021)

Impact

The National Spelling Bee has had a significant impact on American culture. The bee has helped to promote literacy and spelling in the United States. It has also helped to create a sense of community among spellers and their families.