Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lily of the Valley is for Happiness

This Thursday Mom and myself went up to Byron Center to a program in their library called Lily of the Valley is for Happiness. It was about the Victorian language of flowers and was quite fascinating! You can learn more about Wendy, the lady who gave the talk here.

Young Victorians, especially girls, studied entire books on the subject. They would carefully pick apart (maybe even literally!) bouquets from their friends and lovers to find the hidden meaning.

One of my favorite stories she told was of the Titantic. As it was customary for friends to send a bouquet of flowers on your departure, (most likely sweet peas, meaning departure) the ship became overloaded with flowers. They ran out of vases to put the flowers in, so they had to dump the excess overboard. I wish I could have seen that! Anyways, here are some common flowers and their meanings.

Most meanings were positive:
Baby's Breath - innocence, purity of heart

Dandelion - happiness

White lilac - youthful innocence
Phlox - proposal of love, sweet dreams

But some were bad:

Lavender - distrust

Geranium - stupidity

Marigold - cruelty, grief, jealousy

Tansy - I declare war against you!

I also thought it was interesting how different colors of the same flower changed the meaning. (See the example with roses below.)

Red rose - love

Generally, a red flower means love or passion, a white flower means innocence or purity, and yellow flowers are not usually good.

There was also meanings in how many flowers you received and how they were positioned, but I won't go into that.

pink rose - grace, beauty

Yellow rose - jealousy

Dried white rose - death preferable to loss of innocence

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." - Abraham Lincoln.

1 comment:

  1. Nice summary of the flower talk. Now we just send text messages. :0 LOL