Every July for about 130 years, the city of Valencia overflows with flowers. The “Batalla de Flores” is a rich and beautiful tradition. Its name translates to “battle of the flowers,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Elaborate floats decorated in nature’s most colorful objects parade through the streets. The route this parade follows is the historic Walk of the Alameda, and when the end is reached, a flower fight between the people on the floats and the audience breaks out.
The creative floats carry falleras which are women dressed in the traditional Valencian garb. These ladies are each selected by a Valencian Council to have the opportunity to honor the tradition. During the parade, they flaunt their beauty but come prepared for the fight. Each girl has a racket on hand. They use it to protect themselves from the mounds of flowers, and heaps of pollen flying their way.
The end of the celebration, Valencians roll around and play in the flowers. It’s the end of the July celebration. The Battle of Flowers is symbolic to the rejoicing in the fruits of their collective labor.
Pictures of the events are usually taken by male photographers. The photos mainly feature the falleras looking beautiful as they decorate the floats. Two female photographers, Samantha Friend and Jessica Pettaway, brought their cameras to the event. Their mission; to photograph the Battle of Flowers in a way that shows what the event is really all about. Here are their photos.