Battle of the Flowers, JerseyOne of our more recent traditions, the Battle of the Flowers reflects so much about Jersey - the community spirit, the sunshine (compared to the mainland at least!) and the island's horticulture.
The first Battle took place in 1902, when a parade was staged to mark the coronation of Edward VII . At the end of the parade of floral floats someone threw flowers into the crowds, and some of them were playfully, or otherwise, thrown back, turning into a friendly skirmish.
Things have changed over the years, the actual battle being dropped in 1962 because it had started to get out of hand - you could do some serious damage with a sunflower, and ninja nasturtiums don't bear thinking about - replaced by petals dropped from airplanes (though when the wind blew this lost its impact), and now the finale is a firework display after another innovation, a moonlight parade on the day after the daytime version. But the core of the event remains the same, indeed it has grown: the island's parishes, societies, and even some families, spend weeks building floats, nowadays motorised, just before the event covering them in maybe 150,000 or more blooms. There is friendly but intense rivalry between parishes in particular, great kudos going to those adjudged winners, and competition is tough as around 100 floats enter ever year.
The Battle is Europe's biggest floral carnival, taking place on the second Thursday in August, so good weather is more likely than not, the moonlight parade being held the next day.
Most such carnivals have a religious or historical event at their heart, but Jersey's is really about the island's population having a good time and celebrating what their homeland has to offer. It has already become such a part of the island's heritage that there is even a museum dedicated to the battle, at Mont des Corvees in St Ouen.
More British Folk Customs?