Each year during the first few days of February, Chiang Mai bursts into bloom with the Flower Festival. The Festival celebrates both Chiang Mai, known as the ‘Rose of the North’ and the importance of flowers in the local and religious culture.
Flowers play an important ceremonial role in prayer offerings and, similar to the West, they can be symbols of love, compassion and luck. So, each year, for three days Chiang Mai explodes in an elaborate and spectacular homage to the flower.
The biggest day falls on the Saturday, when a parade of floats takes to the streets on a course more than five kilometers long. Each float carries a hopeful Miss Flower Festival and is cheered along as they go from the edge of the Ping River through narrow streets of the Old City to the Suan Bauk Haad Park on the South West corner of the ancient walls. Here the floats rest in the streets, while people pour into the park to see the beautiful displays.
The park is closed for some weeks prior to the Festival for preparations.
It takes a good few hours to see everything, but it’s stunning and free for everyone to enjoy.
The streets outside the park bustle as a multitude of plant, flower, food, clothing, balloon and novelty stalls spring into action.
Here are some more samples from the Flower Festival, 2019.
Below are some examples of the floats from the parade. As you can see some are traditional, but an eclectic range of themes are represented.
Inside the park was landscaped beautifully with several larger exhibits.