What is the sign you look for to tell you spring is near? Is it a robin, a crocus poking up through the dead leaves of last fall, a just awakening snake in your path, a citrus blossom, a pussy willow branch, or that first walk out of doors without a jacket?
In ancient times much of the world paused in their work to celebrate flowers. Weary of winter and with food supplies running low the Roman Goddess Flora was celebrated. In the spring a Maypole was erected, ribbons streamed down and the dancing began. Young women wore crowns of flowers in their hair. The beauty of life, flowers and fertility was thoroughly celebrated with the hope of a great harvest in the Fall. The celebration lasted several days with games, performances, feasting and drinking. Australia’s Floriade does just that! By day the festivities are lit by the sun and by night lights multiply the magic of the celebration.
Floriade is a annual Spring celebration of flowers, held in Commonwealth Park, Canberra, the Australian Capital. The month long celebration has been held for 27 years from mid Sept. to mid October. Over 1 million flowers are planted in the park and when the show opens this incredibly diverse community streams in with friends and family to inhale the fresh scent of spring weather. There is a huge ferris wheel designed to give riders a view of the patterned plantings and also a grand view of the city center. Carnival rides, seminars, lectures, musical performances of choirs, dancers, jugglers, are all part of the offerings. Yet in spring, flowers are the big show. Tulips, pansies, ranunculus, daffodils, hyacinths, flowering cabbages, iris are just some of the blossoms used in the designs. Parents pose their children in front of the beautiful colors struggling to get them to hold still and look at the camera. Then for just a moment realize as they look through the lens they are truly seeing the most beautiful elements of life, their children and nature’s glorious blooms. The park was filled with people, walking, pointing at the flowers, admiring the combinations of colors, eating ice cream, and talking as they experienced a beautiful day. Around lake Burley Griffin the deciduous trees are leafing out in bright green. An annual celebration of spring is a beautiful thing.