Jersey Battle of Flowers

Jersey Battle of Flowers
The Jersey Battle of Flowers is a world-famous annual carnival that takes place on the island of Jersey, a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom. It is held on the second Thursday in August. The festival attracts over 20,000 spectators each year.

The first Jersey Battle of Flowers was held on August 9, 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The coronation itself took place at Westminster Abbey in London, but various festivities were held throughout the United Kingdom and the British Empire. The Battle of Flowers was inspired by the flower carnival of Nice. The inaugural event was such as success that it was decided to hold it annually.

The tradition was interrupted by the First World War. The Battle was revived in 1928 at Springfield Stadium where it was held for the next decade. The event was discontinued once again in 1939 because of the threat of war. Finally, the Battle was revived back at its original venue, Victoria Avenue, in 1951. Originally held on the last Thursday in July, it has since moved to its current date.

The Jersey Battle of Flowers originally featured a literal batter of flowers. After the traditional parade, the floats were dismantled to provide floral ammunition for a mock battle between participants and spectators. This aspect of the festival was abandoned in 1964 but the name of the event has stuck.

The main highlight of the Jersey Battle of Flowers is the Grand Day Parade featuring spectacularly decorated floral floats accompanied by musicians, bands and dancers. The designs of the floats are a closely guarded secret revealed on the Battle day. The floats are decorated either with fresh flowers (predominantly imported chrysanthemums and locally-grown asters) or with dried flowers prepared by islanders. They can be up to 45 foot in length.

An independent judging panel awards prizes in numerous categories named in French, for floats of different types and sizes. They include Prix d’Excellence, Grand Prix de Paroisses, Grand Prix des Fleurs, Prix de Mérite, Prix Décor, and others. The main prize of the Battle is Prix d’Honneur.

Alongside the Grand Day Parade, the festival hosts a nighttime Moonlight Parade inaugurated in 1989. It takes place on Friday evening. The Moonlight Parade is an amazing procession of flower covered floats decorated with thousands illuminated lights that glow in the dark, creating a truly magical atmosphere.

The festivities are presided over by Miss Battle of Flowers and Mr Battle. Miss Battle is selected during the Miss Battle Competition held in the months preceding the Battle and Mr Battle is typically a celebrity invited to escort Miss Battle.

Jersey Battle of Flowers

Photo: BBC Jersey




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