Brilliant Battle of Flowers

The famous Battle of Flowers is returning to St. Helier this summer after a two-year absence due to COVID-19 restrictions. As is customary, on the second Thursday of August, Victoria Avenue will once again be bustling.

What’s it all about?

Battle of Flowers is a spectacular floral carnival that takes place over two days: a day parade and a moonlight parade, second Thursday and Friday in August respectively.

The Grand Day Parade: the arena is jam-packed with flower-draped floats ranging in size from 12 feet to 45 feet. Musicians, dancers and brass bands create an unforgettable carnival ambiance.

The Moonlight Parade: the same floats that participated in the day parade come back in full force all lit up and providing a fabulous show. The parade is followed by a spectacular firework display.

The Grand Day Parade

The Moonlight Parade

How did ‘Battle’ get its name?

Traditionally, the floral floats were hauled by horses, and at the end of the show, the flowers were torn off and thrown to the crowd in the hopes of starting a “battle”. Sadly, this element has long been left behind.

A quick look into the history of the Battle of Flowers

Originally conceived as a “one-off” event to commemorate the Royal Coronation in 1902, the parade has evolved into one of the finest in Europe and a significant component of the Jersey’s cultural heritage. We dare to say that it is the islanders’ favourite event. Because of its overwhelming popularity, the parade has been held ever since, and this year marks the 120th anniversary.

In the battle’s history there have been only three occasions when global events forced its cancellation: World War I interrupted the tradition for the very first time and it wasn’t resumed until 1926. Likewise, World War II and the German Occupation stopped the Battle again and it was 1951 when it was revived once more.  Most recently, the unprecedented Coronavirus outbreak made cancellation of the event necessary in 2020 and 2021.

From a hobby to a competition

The Battle of Flowers has changed throughout the years, so has the look of floats, and horses have been replaced by well-camouflaged motorized machinery. The complexity in their designs has triggered a friendly rivalry between the parishes and local groups that built the floats.

In the beginning of each year, young and old generations get together to brainstorm new ideas that are brought to life over the course of the months. The few days immediately before the parade are when the magic happens, it’s time to decorate the wire and papier-mâché frames with fresh-cut flowers. As per the competition rules, carriages up to 45 feet in length are permitted, however they must be scrupulously blanketed by flowers, and many teams work hard throughout the night to complete their float in time for judging.

Participant teams compete for the coveted ‘Prix d’Honneur’ grand prize, therefore the floats are kept under wraps until Battle Day, when they are slowly and carefully driven to St. Helier in the early hours of the morning, ready for the rigorous judging process and the subsequent spectacular parade. With the traditional cry ‘Let Battle Commence!’ these amazing works of art are finally displayed, much to the enjoyment of spectators that gather to soak up the carnival atmosphere.

Book your holiday package including seated Grandstand tickets to both the Grand Day and Moonlight parades via our Battle of Flowers page.