The meaning and symbolism of flowers have long been integral to various civilizations including Persia and the Middle East. A new period of flower fascination blossomed in Victorian England, called floriography.
Also during Queen Victoria’s reign, flower publications were published to explain the meaning of different plants, herbs, and flowers. This made flowers popular as a means of communicating different messages.
Depending on their presentation and combination with other flowers, flowers could convey the same meaning while also portraying the opposite meaning. This was also the time when floral designs became recognized as a form of artistic expression.
So what do flowers generally represent and mean?
Cultural Significance and Symbolism of Flowers
Are flowers interpreted differently in different cultures? Yes. Flower meanings and significance have always been important to various civilizations, and their meanings and significance vary from one culture to another. There are some flowers that have been adopted as national flowers by different countries.
Asia, for instance, has a number of flowers with symbolic significance. There are flowers that symbolize harmony and others that represent prosperity. Plants and potted flowers are not considered acceptable gifts in Asian tradition. It is believed that this acts as a restriction, especially if you are giving it to someone who is sick.
The meaning of flowers and symbols in Europe also varies according to culture. Floral arrangements were used to scare off evil spirits and encourage fertility in ancient Rome, especially among newlyweds.
Except in Britain, flowers are never given in even numbers in Europe. They associate this with mourning.
In Russia, a floral arrangement intended to express sympathy or sadness must be circular in shape in order to symbolize the circle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.
Flower meaning and symbolism have increased since pre-Columbian times due to the wide variety of flora. In Mexico, flowers have long been prized and employed in crafts, rituals, dyeing, and medicinal purposes.
Religious practices also involve the usage of flowers. Some civilizations honor old gods by placing flowers on their altars because they believe the gods originated from flowers.
Mexican culture often pays tribute to the memory of the deceased with a lavish display of floral symbols.
In Brazilian culture, women are the ones who give and receive flowers.
In Canada and the United States, flowers are given as gifts to express love and thanks on holidays. While an arrangement of roses is frequently selected in Canadian gatherings, vibrant flowers of many sorts are also used to adorn American gatherings.
The significance and symbolism of flowers vary throughout Africa depending on the variety of civilizations there. Typically, flowers represent courage, diversity, and transformation.
Religious Significance and Symbolism of Flowers
Religion heavily utilizes the symbolic significance and meaning of flowers. Religious art frequently features flowers. Let’s examine the role that flowers play in different religions.
In contrast to other religions, Islam does not place a great emphasis on flower symbolism and meaning, however, Arabic culture has always been obsessed with roses. Flowers are symbolic of virtues. Religious places such as mosques often depict different types of flower images and floral patterns.
Among the prominent flowers in Islam, is the henna plant. Henna dye, known for its dark dyes, is used to decorate skin and hair. Have you ever noticed an intricate floral pattern drawn on brides’ hands and feet? These designs represent fertility and good fortune.
Flowers, particularly white flowers, are associated with purity in the Christian faith. During religious ceremonies such as Christmas and Easter, church altars are decorated with bouquets.
In Christianity, brides carry a bouquet down the aisle, whereas in the past, they wore a wreath or garland of flowers around their heads.
Flowers, like in other religions, play an important role in Hinduism. In Hinduism, flowers are associated with youth, beauty, and fertility. They are also linked to divinity. In the Hindu Holy Book, for example, believers are encouraged to model themselves after the lotus in order to be pure. Flowers are also used in ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.
Flowers represent spiritual growth in Buddhism. The lotus, for example, implies a high level of spiritual elevation. Flowers also symbolize divinity and virtue. This is why the lotus flower is used to represent Buddha in Buddhist artwork.
Flower meanings and symbolism have long been important in many cultures around the world. Flower meaning and symbolism became popular during the Victorian era, giving birth to floriography, also known as the language of flowers. Flowers still have significant meanings today and are frequently seen in celebrations around the world.
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