Hiroshima Flower Festival
The Peace Memorial Ceremony of August 6 may be described as "the festival
of serenity". If so, Hiroshima Flower Festival (started in 1977) should be called
"the festival of exuberance". Participants express the joy of life and peace, as
if they were reborn from the ruins of the A-bomb like a phoenix. The festival
of "Flowers, Music and Dancing" is held on Heiwa Odori (Peace Boulevard) and
at Peace Memorial Park during May 3-5, or Golden Week.
During the festival, a variety of groups stage a parade using the tune "Hana
Guruma" (flower floats) as its theme. Starting from a colorful flower gate, the
parade is led by beauty queens on flower floats including Miss Flower. They are
followed by the Peace Drummers, The Flower Ondo (dance song) dancers
wearing fashionable hanagasa hats, jazz dancers and baton twirlers. The local
omikoshi, or portable shrines, are also featured in the parade. Activity corners
and performance stages are set up along the boulevard, and celebrities make
guest appearances there. The festival is a temporary amusement park with
"Hiroshima the native place", "Hiroshima as an international city" and
"inheritance and creation of the community culture" -- these are the themes
incorporated into the festival. The Flower Festival is one of the major festivals
in western Japan.
Flower Festival, the largest festival in Hiroshima (Photograph taken circa 1994)
The Flower Tower is the symbol of the festival. The cone-shaped tower, eight meters high, is set up in front of the fountain at Peace Memorial Park, and is designed with more than ten thousand flower pots of pansies, daisies and marigolds. At the top of the tower, fire taken from the Flame of Peace is kept burning during the festival.