Every year in June, villages in Germany and Austria decorate their main streets with elaborate floral designs from their gardens.
It's part of the Catholic celebration called Frohnleichname (The Feast of Corpus Christi), during which a formal procession takes place through the center of each town. In the village of Mühlenbach in the Black Forest of Germany, the flower carpets are especially intricate. I got to witness the festivities last year and was awe-struck by the beauty of this tradition. Here are some photos I quickly snapped on my phone.
Each family in Mühlenbach is responsible for covering a portion of the road with a beautiful pattern made with flowers that they grow for this specific celebration. It's quite a feat of coordination, trust and timing within the community.
According to Wikipedia, the inspiration for the creation of this festival goes back to "a vision of St. Juliana of Liege, an Augustinian choir woman, in 1209. She reported that she had seen a vision of the moon, which was darkened in one place. Christ had explained to her that the moon meant the church year, the dark spot was the absence of a feast of the altar sacrament."
The adornment of entire streets (in Austria especially with birch branches) for the procession is still widespread today. It's wonderful to see earth-honoring folk traditions still in practice, even when disguised and integrated into modern life and religion. And it's especially fascinating to find hints of seasonal offerings and beauty medicine still living in the edges of European culture. I was born in this region so it's no wonder that I love to make flower mandalas!