Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Denver's Cherry Blossom Festival

Came across a wonderful festival today that I had to share. Cherry Blossom Denver is Colorado's celebration of Japanese-American culture. This festival features continuous live entertainment, arts and crafts, taiko drums, bonsai, Ikebana, and other exhibits, a feast of Japanese foods and much, much more. The Cherry Blossom Festival (in Japanese, Sakura Matsuri) raises funds for the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temples programs and operations. It relies on the volunteer efforts of temple members and nonmembers alike. Japanese-Americans, students of Asian studies, and aficionados of Japanese food, entertainment, and culture are all invited to help with all the preparations and operations of the festival.

This year the Cherry Blossom Festival was held June 28-29, in Sakura Square. Inspired by a company that once operated out of Denver, volunteers made fortune cookies (my personal favorite cookie) to honor them. Umeya Rice Cake Co., made fortune cookies and rice crackers for the Japanese internment camps during World War II. The company relocated from Los Angeles to Denver during the war and then returned to California, where it still operates a thriving business today.

Denverites had the opportunity to experience locally made fortune cookies thanks to these awesome Cherry Blossom volunteers. Derived from Japanese senbei aka "crunchy crackers enjoyed with tea", modern fortune cookies tend to be smaller and sweeter than their predecessors. And that's not the only difference, when the cookies were originally made in Japan, the paper fortune wasn't folded inside the cookie but added externally between the two sides of the folded cookie. This was done to ensure that the eater would not bite into the fortune by mistake; so this is how they were made for the festival.

Check out the pictures below and read more about how the Cherry Blossom Festival devoured the fortune cookie details this year!

Fortune Cookies.

The Cherry Blossom Festival’s homemade cookies look like little foxes and carry the paper fortune on the outside.

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