History of Giving Flowers: The Fascinating Story Why You Gift Blooms
It’s impossible to trace back when a human first gave flowers to his loved one. However, what is known is that presenting your loved ones with flowers as a gift is a way to communicate a certain sentiment and this tradition goes a long way down the history.
In this article, Flower Patch, an online flower shop, attempts to trace back where the history of giving flowers all started.
The Birth of the Language of Flowers
Flowers are given for many reasons: love, celebration, remembrance, apology, support or merely be a thoughtful gesture. Legends say, the gods and goddesses were the first to receive floral gifts, wherein the ancient worshippers used specific flowers to deliver sentiments and well-wishes to keep the divinities happy. It was only a matter of time before these implications were adopted into floral gifts among people.
The Earliest Traces of Giving Flowers
There is an existing evidence that flowers have been a significant part of culture since the prehistoric times. In fact, there were remnants of flower petals in several ancient grave sites discovered by archaeologists. At the time, giving flowers was already a charitable thing to do.
Fast forward to several thousands of years, the tradition of flower giving is recorded in the Greek and Roman mythology, Chinese writings and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Later on, the practice flourished in the Middle Ages when at the time, the church prevented partners from displaying their affection in public and flowers have allowed them to convey their emotions in the most discreet manner.
In the early 1700s, Charles II of Sweden introduced the Language of Flowers or the Persian art of Floriography to Europe, taking the floral tradition to new heights. The practice became so advanced that it was used to send military messages, without the enemies suspecting it to be something of importance.
In the Victorian era, many books were created to serve as a guide for both givers and receivers so they can decode what each flower mean. However, these books were not written by the same author or during the same period, so the gesture may be interpreted differently. Nevertheless, it helped cemented the idea that flowers will always have an emotion associated with it.
Giving Flowers on Valentine’s Day
On Valentine’s Day, legends say the tradition of giving flowers on Feb. 14 originated during the third century in Rome. At this time, Emperor Claudius II assumed that men made better soldiers if they’re single. So, he outlawed marriage for young men. However, Valentine, a young priest that time went furious and defied the law by secretly performing marriages for young lovers.
Unfortunately, the emperor eventually discovered his resistance and sentenced him to death. While in jail, the young priest fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and before he was executed on Feb. 14, 270 AD, he wrote a letter to the girl and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”
Later on, he was declared a saint and each year, we continue to honor St. Valentine by celebrating Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. It is also the time that we celebrate our commitment to our loved ones through giving flowers and chocolates among others.
Flower Gifting Around the World
Since then, the tradition of giving flowers spread across the world with nearly every country having its own reason why it does so.
United States – In the US, flowers are typically given during rites of passage; for celebrating special occasions; or as a sentimental gift for the loved ones. On the contrary, flowers in Las Vegas are an acceptable gift for whatever reason desired.
Europe – In the ancient Rome, flowers are carried by brides to encourage fertility and shoo away evil spirits. The Dutch, on the other hand, believed flowers were food for the soul. In Great Britain, it was presented as a gift when invited into someone’s home.
Africa – In the southern part of Africa, flowers are typically given during Christmas. Egyptians, In contrast, restrict the practice to funerals and weddings.
Asia – In China, peonies are typically given to teachers and are also often seen in weddings. Interestingly, potted plants don’t make a great gift in some Asian cultures as it is believed to indicate binding or restriction.
In Russia, instead of birthday presents, the guest of honor is given a single flower or unwrapped bouquet. Russians also celebrate Woman’s Day were red roses, hyacinths and tulips are typically gifted. For funerals, they offer their sympathy through carnations, lilies or roses arranged in a circular form to signify the life cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth.
Flower Giving in the Philippines
The history of sending flowers in the Philippines is said to have links with the Catholic traditions. In the month of May, a tradition known as Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) is observed wherein devotees gather in churches to offer flowers for the Virgin Mary. The celebration lasts throughout the month and is culminated with a religious and historical procession called Santacruzan. The highlight of the parade is the young woman designated as Queen Helena (Reyna Elena) and followed by the image of Virgin Mary.
After the festivities, the devotees would typically collect the flowers and bring home to their loved ones – and through this time-honoured tradition, Filipinos were introduced to the significance of flowers. Although the western tradition may have influenced the Filipinos in using flowers as a gift, the roots of using them as an ornament for occasions remain with Flores de Mayo.
A Long-Lived Tradition that Never Gets Old
The history of giving flowers continues to be written. These olden times have contributed greatly to the tradition of flower giving – it’s only that flowers have now even more established meanings: a single stem of red rose is no doubt a representation of love but, when colored yellow it rather signifies friendship. White lilies, on the other hand, suggest purity and graciousness while sunflowers indicate happiness and loyalty – and there’s just more to know about the romantic meanings behind flowers.
Today, sending flowers has never been easier and it’s all thanks to the online flower delivery shops available at your fingertips. In the Philippines, Flower Patch is keeping the tradition alive by offering a wide range of flower arrangements throughout the year, so you can send fresh flowers wherever and whenever!
Send flowers to your loved ones today!
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Flower Patch is an online flower shop offering same-day flower delivery services to clients within Metro Manila. Whatever the occasion is, we offer flower arrangements to help you express your message.