The gift for Valentine’s Day could be anything but 2 of the most famous are standing on top; chocolates and flowers. We’ve already talked about how to make chocolate for Valentine’s Day, so, today we’ll talk about the flower. But do you know flowers have meaning?
From the humble daisy to the intricate hyacinths, flowers have fascinated people for millennia. They have appeared in ancient myths and religious texts, with civilizations attributing various meanings to them. In Victorian times, spanning Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign, flowers took on special significance in courtship. This era saw the rise of floriography, where flowers were used to convey hidden messages. Despite the prevalence of modern communication methods like texting and emailing, flowers remain a timeless symbol of meaning and emotion.
What is floriography?
Floriography, often dubbed the “language of flowers,” is a fascinating form of communication that uses flowers and their symbolic meanings to convey messages, sentiments, and emotions. Dating back to ancient times, floriography has been practised in various cultures around the world, evolving into a rich and intricate system of symbolism.
The origins of floriography can be traced to civilizations such as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, who used flowers in religious ceremonies, rituals, and artistic expressions. However, it gained widespread popularity during the Victorian era in Europe, where it became a sophisticated means of expressing feelings that were otherwise considered taboo in the conservative society of the time.
During the Victorian era, when social etiquette placed strict limitations on verbal expressions of love and affection, individuals turned to floriography as a discreet way to communicate their emotions. A carefully chosen bouquet could convey messages of love, friendship, longing, or even rejection, allowing people to express themselves without uttering a single word.
Floriography relies on the symbolism associated with different types of flowers, as well as their colours and arrangement. Each flower carries its own unique meaning, which can vary depending on cultural context and historical significance. For example, the red rose is universally recognized as a symbol of love and passion, while the white lily represents purity and innocence.
The colour of a flower also plays a crucial role in its symbolic interpretation. For instance, a yellow flower might symbolize friendship or happiness, while a blue flower could represent tranquillity or sadness. Additionally, the way flowers are arranged in a bouquet can convey specific messages; for instance, flowers pointed downwards might signify sadness or mourning, while flowers facing upwards could represent joy or celebration.
Floriography became especially popular during the Victorian era, with entire dictionaries dedicated to decoding the language of flowers. These dictionaries contained elaborate lists of flowers and their corresponding meanings, allowing individuals to create custom bouquets tailored to the message they wished to convey.
While floriography experienced a decline in popularity in the following centuries, it continues to fascinate and inspire people today. Many still appreciate the beauty and symbolism of flowers, incorporating them into various aspects of their lives, from weddings and celebrations to everyday expressions of affection.
In contemporary times, floriography has also found new forms of expression, with artists and designers incorporating floral motifs into fashion, art, and literature. Additionally, the advent of social media has provided a platform for sharing and appreciating floral arrangements, further revitalizing interest in this ancient language.
Examples of flowers’ meaning in floriography
Floriography, the language of flowers, has been used for centuries to convey messages and emotions without saying a word. Each flower carries its own unique meaning, making it a powerful form of communication. Here are some examples of flowers and their meanings in floriography:
- Roses: Perhaps the most well-known flower in floriography, roses come in various colours, each with its own significance. Red roses symbolize love and passion, while white roses represent purity and innocence. Yellow roses convey friendship and joy, while pink roses signify gratitude and admiration.
- Lilies: Lilies are often associated with purity and renewal. White lilies, in particular, symbolize virtue and chastity, making them popular choices for weddings and religious ceremonies. Additionally, lilies can also represent sympathy and the restoration of the soul.
- Daisies: Daisies are simple yet cheerful flowers that symbolize innocence and purity. They are often associated with new beginnings, making them suitable for occasions such as graduations, births, or starting a new chapter in life.
- Tulips: Tulips are versatile flowers with various meanings depending on their colour. Red tulips symbolize love and romance, while yellow tulips represent happiness and sunshine. White tulips convey forgiveness and worthiness, making them a popular choice for reconciliation.
- Forget-me-nots: True to their name, forget-me-nots symbolize remembrance and lasting friendship. These delicate blue flowers are often given as a token of affection to someone special, reminding them that they are not forgotten.
- Sunflowers: Sunflowers are known for their vibrant yellow petals and their association with positivity and strength. They symbolize adoration and loyalty, as well as resilience in the face of adversity. Sunflowers are often given to uplift spirits and bring joy to others.
- Violets: Violets are small yet charming flowers that carry deep symbolism. They represent modesty and humility, as well as faithfulness and loyalty. Violets are often exchanged between lovers as a symbol of everlasting devotion.
- Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemums are widely regarded as symbols of longevity and endurance. In some cultures, they are also associated with honour and respect. Chrysanthemums are often given as a token of admiration and appreciation for someone’s strength and resilience.
- Orchids: Orchids are elegant and exotic flowers that symbolize beauty, luxury, and refinement. They are often associated with love and seduction, as well as strength and independence. Orchids are popular choices for expressing admiration and passion.
- Carnations: Carnations are versatile flowers with a range of meanings depending on their colour. Pink carnations symbolize gratitude and admiration, while white carnations represent purity and luck. Red carnations convey love and affection, making them a popular choice for romantic gestures.
- Hyacinths: Hyacinths are fragrant flowers that symbolize sincerity and constancy. They are often given as a symbol of forgiveness or to express heartfelt apologies.
- Peonies: Peonies are lush and extravagant flowers that symbolize prosperity and good fortune. They are often associated with romance and happy marriages, making them popular choices for weddings.
- Daffodils: Daffodils are bright and cheerful flowers that symbolize new beginnings and rebirth. They are often given as a symbol of hope and encouragement during challenging times.
- Iris: Irises are elegant flowers that symbolize wisdom and courage. They are often associated with faith and inspiration, making them suitable for commemorating achievements or expressing admiration.
- Anemones: Anemones are delicate flowers that symbolize anticipation and excitement. They are often given as a token of anticipation for future adventures or as a reminder to stay open to new possibilities.
- Freesias: Freesias are fragrant flowers that symbolize friendship and trust. They are often exchanged between friends as a symbol of appreciation and loyalty.
- Bluebells: Bluebells are charming flowers that symbolize humility and gratitude. They are often given as a symbol of appreciation for someone’s kindness or support.
- Gerbera Daisies: Gerbera daisies are vibrant and cheerful flowers that symbolize happiness and optimism. They are often given as a token of joy and encouragement during difficult times.
- Sweet Peas: Sweet peas are delicate flowers that symbolize blissful pleasure and gratitude. They are often given as a symbol of appreciation for someone’s thoughtfulness or kindness.
- Snapdragons: Snapdragons are unique flowers that symbolize strength and resilience. They are often given as a symbol of support and encouragement during challenging times, reminding the recipient to stay strong and persevere.
Floriography is an amazing art that transcends time, culture, and language. It shows the deep connection between people and nature, where flowers express our feelings and wishes. While the strict rules of floriography may have faded, the symbolic language of flowers still fascinates and moves us, reminding us of the beauty and power of non-verbal communication.
So, the next time you give or receive flowers, take a moment to think about the subtle message they carry and maybe explore the hidden meanings behind their delicate petals.
The Flower Crew Originals are bringing back 19th-century floriography with a new collection that reflects the secret messages of the past. Keep an eye out for their enchanting blooms, expressing emotions through the timeless language of flowers.