Flowers and All They Stand For

09/08/2017

The poetic meaning of different flowers is enough proof than it is not words alone that can express feelings of gratitude, love, sympathy, appreciation, honour, among others. And, allow us to say that flowers--and what they symbolize-are enough to say that an unspoken language that can mean different things to different cultures, religions, situations, and traditions can send a message across.

"The symbolic language of flowers has been recognized for centuries in many countries throughout Europe and Asia. Mythologies, folklore, sonnets, and plays of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese are peppered with flower and plant symbolism-and for good reason. Nearly every sentiment imaginable can be expressed with flowers. Learning the special symbolism of flowers became a popular pastime during the 1800s. Nearly all Victorian homes had, alongside the Bible, guidebooks for deciphering the "language," although definitions shifted depending on the source. Religious, literary, folkloric, and botanical publications were all used to inform meanings," as written in an almanac.com article titled Flower Meanings: Language of Flowers.

Joan, one of the best florist in Singapore, for instance shared how back in China, gifting teachers with flowers is very common. "We teach children and students the value of appreciating people who have taught them about life and many practical things. In China, the most popular among lovely flowers are the peonies that they are often very abundant during weddings."

On the other hand, potted plants are not exactly considered as desirable gifts on most parts of Asia. Normally, a bouquet or a floral gift basket is preferred. In countries like Russia, however, single or a bunch of flower are preferred but not floral arrangement or floral gift baskets. Quite ironic. This is perhaps something cultural. "Personally, there is something simple yet sincere in giving someone a stem of rose, for instance. It's like saying, I adore you in a very straightforward and uncomplicated way," as Clark, a historian from Singapore, would say.

As for Margaux, who owns a sympathy flowers delivery shop, gifting flowers need more attention that we could all possibly imagine, "When I served a client whose grandmother died at the age of 100, I was asked to arrange 100 tulips and 100 carnations and send them to the memorial service. I wanted to create something lovely but not too striking that it may take all the attention away from the deceased. It took me 24 hours to come up with a design, and in the end, the client thanked me for a job well done." As for other appropriate sympathy flowers, roses, orchid plant, lilies, chrysanthemums, and daffodils are very much acceptable.

Macky, whose sister just gave birth to a baby girl in Singapore, was just thinking of a good newborn baby gift, "I did my research and I am thinking of buying some pink balloons and arrange a flower basket with lilacs in them. I read that lilacs make good gifts for babies as they are very fragrant and cute."

It would take more than a single article to know the meanings of different flowers in the world. Gerbera daisies for instance, according to the article Discover the Meaning Behind 10 Popular Valentine's Day Flowers for womansday.com, "Daisies are known for symbolizing beauty, innocence and purity," says Law. "The Gerbera variety, recognizable by their large flowering heads, is available in an assortment of peppy hues, which gives them the additional meaning of cheerfulness. The happy buds are 'always a favourite to receive.' " Sunflowers on the other hand best symbolize loyalty.