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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flowers of Resolution, Christchurch


How do secular societies face a common tragedy? Christchurch, New Zealand, devises a public ceremony, with flowers.


image

Gathering points along the Avon River in Christchurch,

New Zealand, where residents today made a memorial

“River of Flowers”

Map: Healthy Christchurch

Today Christchurch, New Zealand, marks one year since the deadly earthquake that killed 185 people. A community health group polled the residents to ask how the disaster should be commemorated.

Cantabrians expected another huge gathering a Hagley Park, where a memorial had taken place several weeks after the tragedy. Yet, many residents also wanted to gather in their respective neighborhoods, “to allow communities to be together to commemorate, and to look to the future.” Human lives had been lost, and so were many of the city’s buildings. 100,000 houses were damaged, and 10,000 were entirely demolished either by the quake itself or thereafter. This was a tragedy of place.

The ritual enacted today paid tribute both to individual loss and community despair. People gathered at 15 spots along the Avon River that winds through Christchurch and dropped flowers into the water. The river leads to Pegasus Bay and the South Pacific Ocean.


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Posted by Julie on 02/22 at 03:13 PM
Culture & SocietySecular CustomsPermalink