History of Flowers as Love Symbols with Examples
Flower Meanings and Love Symbols: There are no shortages of love symbols in the animal, plant, and mineral worlds….especially the plant world. When it comes to sending a message of love, a great place to start is knowing your flower meanings.
Certain flowers are symbolic of certain characteristics. There’s a reason roses are one of the most popular flowers sent on Valentine’s day and date night. Roses have stood as a symbol for love and romance since the ancient Roman era.
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How Flower Meanings Are Determined
Which brings up a good point…how are flower meanings determined? Who came up with all these meanings and associations? The answer basically boils down to long-held tradition and legends. Over time, certain flowers become linked with concepts in myths and stories relayed to communities over and over. Eventually, the original myth attached to the flower may be often forgotten, but the flower meanings remain. Flower meanings just become common knowledge over time, with their initial connection to a feeling or concept that might be completely unrealized.
One example of flower meanings becoming standardized is the lovely lexicon created by Lady Mary Wortley. Lady Wortley hailed from the Victorian era when proper public behavior was paramount. English aristocrats in the Victorian era (1600s) were highly scrutinized and so the clever Lady Mary devised a secret language of flower meanings to convey messages to others without having to risk misinterpretations from eavesdroppers in public.
Other flower meanings as love symbols originate from ancient Greeks myths, country folklore, religious ideals, etc.
I love etymology and snooping around for the meaning of stuff. So I keep researching the origins to determine the super-cool symbolism of all kinds of things. This article on flower meanings as love symbols is just one among hundreds of symbolic articles I’ve written with the goal to bring the story and symbolism back into human awareness.
A Few Common Flower Meanings as Love Symbols
In some ways, you could say all flowers are symbols of love. They bring life to the world, and do such beautiful things given a nurturing environment. But some flowers are laser-beam specific about being love symbols. Below, I list just a handful of common flower meanings as love symbols. Bear in mind, these are only a sampling. There are tons more flowers out there linked to the language of love. Do some research at the library, and you’ll see I’m right! Or, check around my website for more love symbols (in the form of flowers, animals, stones, trees and more!). Just do a search…you’ll find roses, daisies, lotus…all of which stand for love, but are not on this quick list.
(Also known as Violet) The great bard, William Shakespeare, mentions the pansy in connection with the love god Cupid. An old folk ritual suggests putting pansies on the eyelids of someone sleeping. When the slumbering person awakens, the first person they see will be the object of their undying love. Shakespeare makes a reference to this love ritual in his play Midsummer’s Night Dream. This is an example of how flower meanings as love symbols start, take hold, and take root in the collective consciousness of a society. Shakespeare also referenced the pansy in Hamlet when he establishes symbolism of thoughtfulness, devotion, and remembrance to the pansy. According to Lady Mary’s flower lexicon (see above for info on Mary Wortley), the meaning of a pansy worn in public varies according to color. White pansy means you are thinking loving thoughts about a certain someone. Purple pansies are a message of remembering fond, loving moments with someone. Yellow pansies are a sign of feeling deep devotion and loving loyalty.
As love symbols, marigolds are pretty obvious…their blossoms seem to sing songs of cheer, love, and joy. Marigolds are a symbol of the purest of love. This comes from long-held medicinal uses of the marigold. They are powerful cleansing agents and have been used for detoxifying the body for centuries. In England and Germany marigolds are often used in culinary dishes. In the early days, it was common to make a dish with marigolds and present it to someone you love. Ideally, the recipient will return your love after the marigold dish was eaten. In many Asian cultures, the marigold is a symbol of fidelity and longevity in general, but luck in the long-term applies to marigold flower meanings too. A long-held idea amongst dream interpreters states that dreaming of the marigold indicates true love is soon to come. The theme of love and devotion continues when French queen Marguerite de Valois (grandmother to Henry the IV) deemed it so in the 16th century. She chose the marigold as a symbol of passionate allegiance and love for the country. To demonstrate this love for queen and country, Huguenot soldiers picked marigolds and donned them on their battle armor before going into war.
Like the marigold, it’s hard not to feel love and joy when beholding these happy flowers. The word daisy means ‘day’s eye’ which is a jolly start to its history as a love symbol. The daisy is sacred to and associated with the Norse goddess Freya, who is a goddess of love. In many cultures, the daisy is viewed as a symbol of self-love. It reminds us of the purity and innocence of the soul, and therefore the daisy brings us back to our true selves, which is, in fact, irresistibly loveable! Back in Medieval times, the daisy played a romantic role in flower meanings as love symbols. How so? Well, when a lady let a knight don a daisy on his armor during a feat of strength in a knightly competition, it meant he could have her hand in matrimony and they would be in love forever. That is, as long as he won the tournament on her behalf. Also, in Medieval art, the daisy was featured as a symbol of the Virgin Mary which leads to themes of purity and motherly love.
Want more? I’ve got more! Check out these excellent articles on flower meanings as love symbols! Just click any of the links about flower meanings and love symbols to follow!
I hope you found this article uplifting and insightful. As always, thank you so much for reading.
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