Monday, February 9, 2009

Assorted Gerbers -

The Language of Flowers

Author: Ing @ Bunches Florapost

Ever wondered why we give flowers as gifts? Or why different flowers symbolise different things? Well, the act of giving flowers dates back to prehistoric times and evidence of flowers having symbolic meanings can be found in Egyptian inscriptions and Chinese writings, as well a Greek and Roman Mythology. The fascinating history behind the language of flowers has developed over hundreds of years.
During the Middle Ages harsh restraints were placed on courtships and this led to the exchange of flowers to grow amongst couples, as the flowers they gave symbolised different messages, allowing couples to express themselves secretly without others seeing or hearing.
Flower meanings progressed through the 1600’s and became so refined that even military messages could be sent in a harmless gift of flowers. As time went on, the context in which flowers were given also began to have meaning. For example flowers handed over in the right hand would mean “yes” to a question, just as flowers handed over in the left hand would mean “no”.
By the Victorian era, great emphasis was placed on flowers and what they represented. Flowers were used to decorate almost everything from hair and clothing to jewellery and people’s homes. However, the same flower found in a different position could have a completely different meaning.
For example wearing a Marigold in the hair expressed mental anguish, while the same flower pinned to the bosom conveyed indifference.
Flowers had taken on so many different meanings and definitions that 1818 saw the very first flower dictionary published by Charlotte de la Tour call Le Language des Fleurs. The handbook was extremely popular and included over 1000 different meanings of flowers, plants and herbs.
By the 19th Century posies and bouquets carried so much meaning as each flower, colour and number held such symbolism. Giving a bouquet then was the equivalent of sending a text message on your mobile phone today!
Flowers and plants still carry different meanings and are used to represent and symbolise many things from cultures and nationalities to emotions and the marking of occasions. For example the red rose has multiple meanings. It is one of England’s national emblems, found on England rugby shirts and sometimes on the England flag.
The story of the red rose representing England dates back to the 15th Century when the War of the Roses took place from 1455-1487. The House of York adopted a white Rose, the House of Lancaster decided to take a red rose. The winner of this war, Tudor Henry VII, merged his Lancastrian Rose with the red Rose of his York bride and therefore created the Tudor Rose, the Rose of England. The red rose is also known worldwide as the symbol of love and romance and is traditionally sent on St. Valentine’s Day. The Language of Flowers is largely forgotten today and not as widely in bouquet choices as it once was. The tradition of communicating through flowers can add an element of fun to the flowers you buy as gifts - that is why we are bringing it back!

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