It’s Valentine’s Day, and no better time to tell someone you love them.
The history of Valentine’s day has roots in ancient Rome with the legend of Saint Valentine, a priest who performed secret marriages for young couples against the decree of Emperor Claudius II. While jailed for his actions, he fell in love with a young woman, and before his execution bid her farewell in a note signed “from your Valentine”. And so started the tradition of sending cards on Valentine’s day.
The tradition of sending flowers as an expression of love most likely developed much later. It gained popularity, though, in the prim and proper era of Victorian England, when flowers became a popular way of secretly communicating one’s affections.
We know some of this language today; red roses for romantic love, pink for affection, white for virtue and yellow for friendship.
There are many other, commonly used, flowers with fascinating meanings. The book, The Language of Flowers, published in 1900, offers the following interpretations.
Purple lilac, one of the first flowers of spring, represents the first emotions of love. I think that makes sense since lilacs are short lived, but intoxicating.
The daisy represents innocence. Remember the childhood game “he loves me, he loves me not” played by pulling off the petals of a daisy? Perhaps there is some connection between the flower’s meaning and the innocence of a childhood crush.
Yellow tulips represent hopeless love; maybe these should be the flower of choice for Valentine’s Day!
Ivy is a well chosen addition to a bridal bouquet as it symbolizes fidelity and marriage.
The peony represents bashfulness; perhaps because of its delicate appearance, or because the heavy flowers tend to droop like a downcast or shy gaze.
These are just a few of many flowers and their meanings. As you can see, I love botanical prints, and I think a framed collection of these prints (even more so than cut flowers) would be a beautiful, artistic, (and meaningful) gift for Valentine’s Day, or any day!