The history of the Flower Communion dates back to 1923. That’s when N.F. Čapek came up with the idea to remember the diversity of people and at the same time what they have in common. As he said, this celebration is not meant to be a cheap substitute for traditional Christian communion; it was supposed to be more in its own way and to go further and not to unite people in a certain ideology, but to offer a space of unification to all people, to anyone of good will. The main motive was to emphasize human identity and the unifying presence of the principle of life.

The idea was simple: each member of the community would bring a flower to the assembly that represented him. All flowers are placed in a common vase or basket. At the end of the ceremony, everyone takes home a different flower than the one they brought. The flower festival symbolizes the uniqueness of each individual and the sharing of this uniqueness in the community.

Our archive contains various descriptions of the first Flower Festival, and as an interesting document, we can look into the letter from N. F. Čapek to Samuel A. Eliot, President of the American Unitarian Association, dated December 30, 1923:

In the name of Providence, which implants in the seed the future of the tree and in the hearts of people the longing for people living in human love; in the name of the highest. in whom we move and who makes the mother, the brother and sister what they are; in the name of sages and great religious leaders, who sacrificed their lives to hasten the coming of [peace and justice] — let us renew our resolution — sincerely to be real brothers and sisters regardless of any kind of bar which estranges [one from another]. In this holy resolution may we be strengthened, knowing that we are God’s family, that one spirit, the spirit of love, unites us, and [may we] endeavor for a more perfect and more joyful life. Amen.

At another Flower Communion in June 1924, Čapek devoted his attention to capturing the main principles:

As a symbol and sacrament, we chose the most tender, accessible and unbeautiful thing that nature gives us, flowers. A flower is divine. One cannot make it, even if he were trying as much as possible. The result would be a fake without scent of life, nothing else. What should our present symbol, our sacrament express?

  • Each and every one of us is symbolized by a flower.
  • The flowers connected in a bunch of flower symbolize brotherhood, our sense of belonging.
  • The manner in which we picked the flowers and brought them with us symbolizes free will and freedom.
  • When you will be leaving this gathering, calmly and with no hurry, each person will pick one flower from the bunch for himself as a sign of not deciding who he considers to be his brother or sister. We are trying to create an atmosphere favorable to spiritual growth. Anyone who would come with a different intention will feel he is not at home here; he will be like a withered flower nobody wants.

The Flower Communion was enthusiastically embraced in all Unitarian communities in Czechoslovakia and became an integral part of their liturgical year. It also found its way to various Unitarian communities in many countries around the world.

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