In ancient history, flowers were a major part of religious traditions. They served as offerings to gods and played roles in handing down their myths. Blooms also came to represent values and virtues in many societies.
People knew how crucial flowers were in interactions. So they began to assign unique meanings to flowers. They became a way to share thoughts and feelings.
In the 1700s, French and Englishmen created a way to give meaning to flowers. This led the way to the field of floriography or the language of flowers.
In this article, we discover the origins behind the language of flowers. We go back to a quick history of the practice of gifting flowers.
We look at the ways that the language of flowers has evolved over time, across diverse cultures. We also learn about the meanings we give certain flowers and arrangements today.
Interested in a formal course? Want to get certified as a flower expert? Look into associations offering classes in floristry, like:
American Institute of Floral Designers (www.aifd.org).
Society of American Florists (www.safnow.org).
American Floral Endowment (www.endowment.org).
History of Floriography.
The Greeks and Romans held flowers in high regard. They admired blooms’ natural charm and vibrant colors.
In their vast collection of myths, the tale of Persephone centers on flowers. The gentle girl is also called the Spring Goddess.
Persephone tended to gardens both in the Underworld and on earth. Bright blooms flourished in full with her care. Different species blossomed in her gardens. Many asserted that they grew even more beautiful in her presence to delight her.
Likewise, Ancient Egyptians adorned their carts with wreaths before going off to war. They also set flowers inside their loved one’s tomb before burying them.
The Egyptians hung flowers around their offerings to their gods. They did this as a gesture of love and adoration. The lotus flower was their most revered flower. It held meanings of rebirth, so they used them in their gifts.
Over time, these societies used flowers based on the meanings linked to them. Lilies, for example, represented purity.
The colonial era produced the first complete guide to flowers and their meanings. This developed side by side with floristry. People began to adjust floral designs to the meanings behind flowers.
The Art and Science of Flower Meanings.
The Victorian Era set the pace for the more complex language of flowers today. People from this time relied quite a lot on flowers to convey their emotions. As such, experts had to draw up entire books on flower meanings.
Greeks and Egyptians used bunches of the same blossom. In contrast, the Victorian period saw arrangements with a vast range of flowers. This was to share a mix of meanings of different flowers.
Floriography then grew into an entire field of study. It set out to give flowers meaning based upon where and when it grew.
Today, people know that flowers hold a large range of meanings. One needs to regard the flower’s history, color, and its place in its arrangement. This is the perfect way to embody true feelings and sentiments.
In recent years, people have begun to factor in flowers’ scents. They’re now as vital as the colors and shapes of flowers in floral design. Flower shops also include scents in their marketing appeal.
To this day, we still use flowers based upon their meanings. We even have a whole field of study on the meanings of flowers and arrangements!
This has helped us honor important occasions. It has allowed us to show our feelings to others. Most important of all, it lets us mourn the loss of loved ones.
We give bouquets of long-stemmed roses for Valentine’s Day. We present baskets as a birthday or housewarming gift. We pay respects with floral tributes for grieving families. Whatever we go through, flowers always let us express ourselves in the most heartfelt way!
Photo by Annie Spratt