Flower Carnival in Debrecen

Debrecen has organised the Flower Carnival since 1966 and it has grown into one of the most popular festivals not only of the city but of Hungary as well. In the beginning only Hungarian groups participated, but after a few years foreign groups were also invited. Now the carnival is a spectacular event with beautiful flower cars and dance groups coming from Debrecen, her sister cities and other countries as well.

Between 15-21st August Debrecen is clad in flowers and the whole city is wreathed in a carnival atmosphere. During the carnival week visitors can see world-famous Hungarian performers, art ensembles and beautiful flower compositions. The highlight of the one-week fiesta is the carnival parade on 20th August - a national holiday when Hungarians celebrate the foundation of the Hungarian State -, when spectacular flowers floats decorated with hundreds of thousands of flowers parade through the streets of the city accompanied by Hungarian and foreign folk dance groups, orchestras and majorettes.

Preparations

The organisers start preparing months before the carnival, the cars' decoration starts 2-3 weeks before the event. In the first years only fresh flowers were used, recently the use of dry flowers has increased. For the decoration of a flower car as many as 150-250 thousand fresh flowers are used depending on the subject. Traditionally firms and companies finance the cars, usually 15-16 a year, for which 3 million flowers are used altogether. The first car is always the Hungarian Holy Crown, then come the other compositions with the scenes of popular tales.

The parade

The carnival starts at 8 a.m. in Petőfi Square and goes through the city on a 5 km route leading to the Nagyerdei Stadium. Between the spectacular flower cars the invited dance groups and bands entertain the public. The parade arrives at the stadium at around 10 a.m. where the floats and the performers circle around showing their best to the audience and the jury who later present awards  for the most beautiful floats and the best groups later the day. After the parade in the afternoon visitors can take a closer look at the flower floats and watch the performance of the groups in the stadium. The flower-fovered vehicles and the performers march through the city again in evening but this time on a shorter route. Fireworks and a street party close the carnival at night. During the day on 20th August other colourful carnival programmes are held on several locations of the city. The parade is for free standing by the streets. Tickets are available for street grandstands (Piac Street, Hunyadi Street, Egyetem Avenue) and in the Nagyerdei Stadium.

The Hortobágy Bridge Fair held at the same time gives an insight into the "puszta" feeling, the Hungarian folk traditions and the unique gastronomy of the region.

Source: www.gotodebrecen.com