Flower festivals are celebrated all over the world and almost around the year. Even as I write this one such festival is taking place in India, the Malabar Flower Festival, and another scheduled to start later this month. The Kegworth Flower Festival is underway in Derby, England, and a dozen other places are preparing for theirs in the coming weeks. Here we present 10 most fascinating display of flowers in different parts of the world.
The Bloemencorso, a Dutch word which means “flower parade”, are held in many towns in the Netherlands and Belgium. In a parade of this kind the floats, cars and in some cases boats are magnificently decorated or covered in flowers. Each parade has its own character, charm and theme. Zundert holds the largest flower parade in the world.
The parade takes place on the first Sunday of September. The floats are large artworks made of steel wire, cardboard, papier-mâché and flowers. In the Bloemencorso Zundert, only dahlias are used to decorate the objects and it takes thousands of them just to cover one float.
The huge floats are made by twenty different hamlets and each of them consists of hundreds of builders, aged 1 to 100, who are all equally crazy about the bloemencorso. The older members of the hamlet are often responsible for planting and growing the dahlias, while the younger ones build the float in large temporary tents that are built exclusively for the event.
3. Jersey Battle of Flowers
The Jersey Battle of Flowers is an annual carnival held in the Channel Island of Jersey in the second Thursday of August. The festival consists of music, funfairs, dancers, majorettes and a parade of flower floats alongside various street entertainers.
The ‘Battle’ itself originally consisted of dismantling the floats to provide floral ammunition for a literal battle of flowers between participants and spectators, but this aspect has long been abandoned. Since 1989, a nighttime Moonlight Parade with the floats festooned in lights has been introduced. The Moonlight parade ends with a large fireworks display.
5. Spalding Flower Parade
The Spalding Flower Parade held in Spalding, Lincolnshire, began life as a celebration to mark the Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935 and focused predominantly on tulips, which were abundant at the time. In the following years, the event grew to involve an entire week dedicated to the beauty of tulips and ‘Tulip Week’ was born, involving a 25 mile walk and tour designed to show off the best growers in the area.
In 1959, the first official Spalding Tulip Parade took place and showcased many beautiful floats decorated with tulips heads that had been stored specifically for this purpose. Each float could use up to 100,000 flower heads and within a few years the event had attracted worldwide attention.
6. Genzano Infiorata Flower Festival
Each year, during the month of June, local artists cover the entire street of Belardo with a floral carpet with patterns inspired by religious art, shapes and famous paintings. For more than 2 centuries (from 1778) on Sunday and Monday following Corpus Christus feast the Infiorata a most suggestive manifestation of art, pride of the artists of Genzano has taken place. Each year the artists suggestions must conform to a previously agreed upon theme, such as The Colours of Michelangelo, or The Designs of Bernini. The carpet stays for two full days. On the third day, their work is demolished by local schoolchildren, who are permitted to wreak havoc!
8. Brussels’ Flower Carpet
The Brussels’ Flower Carpet is a special event that comes every two years. During this event a huge carpet of flower is laid out on the main square in Brussels in front of the City Hall. The festivities started on the evening of August 12 and the flower carpet was opened for public view on August 13 and will remain open till August 15. The viewing is free, but if you want a better view, you can pay 3 Euros to go up one of the buildings to get a panoramic view.
9. Batalla de Flores, Valencia
Batalla de Flores is celebrated in Valencia, Spain, to mark the end of the month long Feria de Julio, a traditional fiesta of various cultural and entertainment events. It starts with a long parade of enormous and gorgeous floats pulled by horses and filled with young girls dressed to the theme of the float. Once the floats have made a couple of rounds around the route, the battle breaks out. The onlookers and the float crews pelt flowers on each other and generally make merry. The girls even equip themselves with tennis rackets to defend the attack.
11. Battaglia di Fiori, Ventimiglia
La Battaglia dei Fiori or the Battle of Flowers is held once every two years in Ventimiglia. This festival is a celebration of the Spring where the communities that make up Ventimiglia compete to create the best most extravagant float to be judged during a parade. These floats are made almost entirely out of flowers, and there can be as many as 80,000 flowers on a float. The floats parade around the town on two days. The first is a night parade, with dancing, music and food. Everything culminates in a spectacular fireworks while the floats are repaired and touched up ready for the following day. The next day, float girls climb aboard their communities entries, bands fire up, dancers and entertainers pour out onto the street. The parade loops around the town two or three times, at which point everyone in the parade starts showering the crowd in flowers.
13. Festival of the Flowers, Medellin
The Feria de Las Flores or Flower Festival the city of Medellin hosts a week-long schedule of events and festivities including the world famous parade of silleteros. The first Festival of the Flowers took place on May 1, 1957 and lasted for five days with an exposition of flowers displayed in the Metropolitan Cathedral to celebrate Virgin Mary day. This flower parade represents the end of slavery when instead of flowers slaves carried men and women on their backs up steep hills. Since then, other events have been added like the International Pageant of the Flowers, the cavalcade, Guiness Records in 1996 and 1999, classic automobiles parade, Orchids exposition, among others.
15. Pasadena Rose Parade
The Rose Parade, is “America’s New Year Celebration” held in Pasadena, California, a festival of flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians and the Rose Bowl college football game on New Year’s Day.
Originally started on January 1, 1890, the Rose Parade is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route, and is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States. Several floats made of flowers with whimsical themes are paraded on the streets to be judged. Aside from flower parades there are bands performing music, a horse parade and a beauty queen contest.
17. Chiang Mai Flower Festival
The Chiang Mai Flower Festival takes place on the first weekend of February. The flower beds in public spaces all around the town are especially beautiful at this time of year. Everywhere there can be found gorgeous displays of yellow and white chrysanthemums, and the Damask Rose, a variety found only in Chiang Mai. Also, the pink and purplish Dendrobium orchids, and the yellow Daoruang. The real focus of this Chiang Mai festival, however, is the public garden of Suan Buak Haad on the south-western corner of the moat.
In some ways the best part of the Flower Festival is the Flower Festival Parade. The flower parade gaily decorated floats, pretty girls, and hill tribe people in their colorful costumes moves very slowly down the streets and stops frequently. Dancers in traditional costumes perform Thai dances, and those taking part in the flower parade hand out roses to the spectators.