Arundel's amazing carpet of flowers open to the public

MORE THAN 100 years of tradition, a sacred moment in time and around 1,500 flowers are on display in Arundel Cathedral from today (Tuesday, May 20).

A 90ft carpet of flowers has been painstakingly designed, organised and laid along the aisle of the cathedral, to celebrate the festival of the Corpus Christi.

The procession of the Blessed Sacrament will make its way from the cathedral, to the courtyard of Arundel Castle, on Thursday (May 22) before moving back to the cathedral, and its colourful carpet.

This year's design is to mark the 150th anniversary of Saint Bernadette's apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes.

Mary Bagg, a parishioner who has been helping to organise the carpet of flowers for more than 30 years, said: "Our Lady taught Bernadette to use a rosary, so that is our theme."

A massive rosary, fashioned from cream, gold, pink, red and purple chrysanthemums, adorns the aisle, and 100s of visitors are expected.

Ancient tradition

It is an ancient tradition to lay flowers in the path of important people, a practice that has been adopted by the Catholic Church to welcome the Blessed Sacrament.

Arundel's own tradition started in 1877, when Duke Henry, the 15th Duke of Norfolk, was inspired by seeing streets of flowers in Italy, and for many years the cathedral was decorated using flowers from his own green house.

It has taken place annually since, barring the years through the First World War.

The cathedral is open from 9.30am until 9pm tomorrow (Wednesday, May 21, 2008) and there will be two masses on Thursday. at 10am and 5.30pm.

The procession will begin at around 6.30pm

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