Flower delivery has long been an accepted way of showing sympathy or condolences, as their beautiful colours and scents can quickly bring a smile to the face of someone who is grieving. The whole city of Christchurch with suburbs Addington, Riccarton and Fendalton that are in need of some uplifting, then you need a whole lot of different flowers to make it happen. That is what Christchurch in New Zealand gets every year when they have their annual River of Roses event, which is held to commemorate those who were lost during the massive earthquake that rocked the city 5 years ago.
This flower delivery is taken to a whole new level, as residents take to 20 different sites along the river to pay their respects. Community groups from areas such as Addington, Riccarton, and Fendalton in Christchurch will be taking part in the flower delivery for the River of Flowers event, while it is also expected that many people who left the city after the tragedy will be returning to be part of the proceedings. Others, though, are likely to stay away, as at just 5 years, the whole event is still a little too raw to face again just yet.
While flowers play a central role in the events of the day, there are more things going on that help bring a commemorative vibe to the occasion. Schoolchildren from the area sing songs, ritual dances are performed, and a few of the locations along the river will have a lone piper in place, which certainly add a solemn touch to what is already a day of reflection.
The River of Flowers has now been an annual event for 4 years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Once Christchurch cleared away the majority of the rubble and devastation cause by the earthquake, there were a lot of areas of the city that were very barren and lifeless. There were some who speculated that it would never be able to return to its former glory, but the residents have rallied together to start putting the pieces back together again. In many of those areas, flowers were placed not just to memorialize those who had passed, but also to add a splash of color and life to a region that was desperately in need of both.
While the River of Flowers is an event that asks people to look back and remember what was lost, it’s also a time when residents look forward to what is to come. With each passing year, Christchurch grows a little stronger, as projects are completed and new ones begin. The skyline is in a constant state of change, which is a sure sign of growth. Events like the River of Flowers are important, as it lets visitors see just how far the city has come over the last 5 years. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the future certainly looks as bright as those flowers that can now be seen all over the city.