Cultural Significances of Flowers Around the World

From mythology to the actual origin of each flower’s name and identification of its distinctive characteristics, a bouquet of flowers is infused with symbolism and deep meaning. Messages given out by different flowers have changed through the ages. For centuries, flowers have been recognized for having a language of their own, besides their beauty, fragrance and medicinal properties. And in the present, flowers speak love, celebrate relationships, congratulate in achievement and console in sorrow.

Bouquet of Flowers

The Origin

Let’s take a quick look at the history of the language of flowers around the world –

Flowers have helped the Egyptians, the Romans and the Greek express their feelings for centuries, though the Chinese and Japanese are often credited for the establishment of the language of flowers. In the West, the word ‘Floriography’ was termed during the Victorian era to denote the art of interpretation of the language of flowers.

At one point in time in Europe, people started believing that flowers had a magical property. However, over time, as their real properties were recognized, different flowers were assigned various meanings or connotations. Since then, the notion that varied flowers can express different feelings (without having to speak them out loud) has prevailed.

The Significance

Here is a list of common flowers and popular meanings associated with them –

  • Roses

Long a symbol of passion and romance, the ancient Greeks and Romans associated these classic flowers with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Most certainly an attractive blossom, different varieties of roses, from soft peaches, fiery oranges to the classic red, symbolize virtue, integrity, passion, desire, friendship and enchantment.

  • Orchids

The most sought-after ornamental plants, orchids are delicate, exotic and graceful flowers that represented strength and virility in ancient Greece. Symbols of luxury in the Victorian era, orchids have been a prevalent as a christening flower, while some orchids also signify a mark to new beginnings.

  • Lilies

Derived from the Greek word, ‘leiron’ in the 1580 B.C., lilies have long held a role in ancient mythology. These majestic flowers are associated with motherhood, for the belief that they were originated from the milk of Hera. The Chinese use them in weddings to signify deep love and gifted to express devotion, friendship and well wishes.

  • Carnations

Associated with coronation in Greece, these pretty flowers are used in making crowns and wreaths. Also, according to a popular cultural belief these flowers bloomed out when the Virgin Mary’s tears touched the ground, which is why they are known to be a symbol of a mother’s undying love for her children.

Today, flowers are still used with these meanings in mind in order to give more significance to religious and cultural ceremonies. For assembling an ideal bouquet of flowers, it’s best to sense the personalities of different flowers and choose them intuitively to fit your mood and the occasion. That’s ideally when you’ll be able to surprise and cheer up a loved one!

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