It's How You Say It - The Language of Flowers
We have all heard that certain colors of flowers represent certain things. Purple means passion, red means love, white stands for purity
and yellow symbolizes friendship, but did you know that different flowers have symbolism and meaning too?
Did you know that associating certain flowers with different meanings
is actually an age-old art form? The Japanese call it Hanakotoba, and King Charles II brought it to Sweden from Persia in the 17th century.
fancy name for the language of flowers, was coined in the Victorian era, and while its original translations may have shifted over time, the notion that
through flower symbolism we can express what we want to say (and may not be able to speak out loud) still holds true.
From the origin of a flower’s name to its distinctive characteristics and rich mythology, flowers are infused with symbolism and
A few of the most common flowers and their meaning and symbolism are identified below:
With a history that dates back more than 2,000 years, it's not surprising that carnations are rich with symbolism, mythology and even debate. While some
scholars suggest that their name comes from the word “corone” (flower garlands) or “coronation” because of its use in Greek ceremonial crowns, others propose
that it’s derived from the Latin “carnis” (flesh) referring to the flower’s original pinkish-hued color.
Today, carnations can be found in a wide range of colors, and while in general they express love, fascination and distinction, virtually every color carries
a unique association. White carnations suggest pure love and good luck, light red symbolizes admiration, while dark red represents deep love and affection.
Purple carnations imply capriciousness, and pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that they first appeared on earth from
the Virgin Mary’s tears, making them the symbol of a mother’s undying love.
This hardy, sweetly fragrant flower is also the state flower of Ohio, the January birth flower, and the 1st wedding anniversary flower.
The mythology of the iris dates back to Ancient Greece, when the goddess Iris, who personified the rainbow (the Greek word for iris), acted as the link
between heaven and earth. It’s said that purple irises were planted over the graves of women to summon the goddess Iris to guide them in their journey to
heaven. Irises became linked to the French monarchy during the Middle Ages, eventually being recognized as their national symbol, the fleur-de-lis.
The iris is the February birth flower, the 25th wedding anniversary flower and the state flower of Tennessee. The three upright petals of the iris are said
to symbolize faith, valor and wisdom.
The orchid is the most highly coveted of ornamental plants. The delicate, exotic and graceful orchid represents love, luxury, beauty and strength. In
ancient Greece, orchids were associated with virility. In fact, Greek women believed that if the father of their unborn child ate large, new orchid tubers,
the baby would be a boy. If the mother ate small orchid tubers, she would give birth to a girl.
During the Victorian era, the orchid came to symbolize luxury, and today this sense of magnificence and artfulness continues, with orchids representing rare
and delicate beauty. The 14th wedding anniversary flower, pink orchids convey pure affection, and the popular cattelya orchid represents maturity.
As far back as the date 1580 BC, engraved images of lilies were discovered in a villa in Crete. These beautiful flowers have long had a place in ancient
mythology. From the Greek word leiron, (believed to refer to the white Madonna lily), the lily was so adored by the Greeks that they believed it sprouted
from the milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. Lilies are known to be the May birth flower, and the 30th wedding anniversary flower.
White lilies symbolized chastity and virtue and were the symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity and her role of Queen of the Angels. As more varieties became
popular, they brought with them additional meanings and symbolism. Peruvian lilies, also known as alstromeria, represent friendship and devotion, white
stargazer lilies express sympathy, and pink stargazer lilies represent wealth and prosperity. Lilies of the valley symbolize humility and devotion and are
the 2nd wedding anniversary flower.
The lily flower is most often associated with funerals. Lilies symbolize that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death.
A long standing symbol of love and passion, the ancient Greeks and Romans associated roses with Aphrodite and Venus, goddesses of love. Used for hundreds of
years to express messages without words, they also represent confidentiality. The Latin expression sub rosa (literally, under the rose) means something told
in secret, and in ancient Rome, a wild rose was placed on the door to a room where confidential matters were being discussed.
Each color offers a different meaning: Red signifies love and enduring passion; white, humility and innocence; yellow, friendship and joy; pink, gratitude
and admiration; orange, enthusiasm and desire; purple roses represent fascination and love at first sight. Additionally, the number of stems in a rose
bouquet can also express specific sentiments.
It’s the June birth flower and the 15th wedding anniversary flower. Roses are the national flower of the United States and the state flower of Georgia, Iowa,
New York, North Dakota and the District of Columbia. Not surprisingly, June, the month so often associated with weddings, is National Rose Month.
Not originally from Holland, but from Persia and Turkey, tulips were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where they got their common name from the Turkish
word for gauze (with which turbans were wrapped), mimicking the turban-like appearance of a tulip in full bloom. By the 17th century, the popularity of
tulips, particularly in the Netherlands, became so great that the price of a single bulb soared to new heights, causing markets to crash and putting into
motion tulip mania.
Like roses, different tulip colors carry with them different meanings. Yellow tulips symbolize cheerful thoughts, white convey forgiveness, and purple
represent royalty. A red tulip representing love may have come from a Turkish legend. The story is that a prince named Farhad was insanely in love with a
maiden named Shirin. When Farhad learned that Shirin had been killed, he was so distraught that he killed himself by riding his horse over the edge of a
cliff. It's said that a scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood, giving the red tulip the meaning perfect love.
The 11th wedding anniversary flower, it's said that the tulip’s velvety black center represents a lover's heart, darkened by the heat of passion. With the
power to rival roses with their red variety and the soft charm, to express simple joy when yellow, it’s not a surprise that in addition to all its other
symbolism, in the language of flowers, a tulip bouquet represents elegance and grace.
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