The Tradition Of Giving Flowers
Guys giving flowers to the ladies is a great thing to do. But did you know flowers as a form of gift has a long interesting history. We have all given flowers to a friend, family member or lover, but how many of us have stopped to ask, why do we give flowers?
We give flowers for many different reasons; love, remembrance, apologies, in support and simply for no reason at all. The tradition has spread around the world, with nearly ever country having a tradition of giving flowers.
Like many traditions, its beginnings are very different from its current state.
Not surprisingly, the tradition dates back to prehistoric times when flowers often had medicinal and herbal attributes for our ancestors. Giving flowers was a charitable thing to do, something that persists to this day. There have been remnants of flower petals in several grave sites found by archeologists.
Moving forward several thousand years, there are records of flower giving dating back to Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese writings, as well as in Greek and Roman mythology.
In more recent times, the practice of giving a flower flourished in the Middle Ages. At that time the strict guidelines of the church prevented couples from showing open affection in public. Giving flowers allowed them to show their emotions without the worry that someone would see and report them. Couples could also encode messages with the flower arrangement and send each other messages that way.
In the 1700s, Charles II of Sweden brought the message of the flower tradition to a new height with the Language of Flowers, which was a Persian custom. The Language of Flowers was used extensively in Turkey for the sending of messages. The practice became so refined that military messages were sent as a bouquet of flowers, with the enemy believing the flowers to simply be flowers and not a message.
During the Victorian era, many books were written on what different flowers said, along with how to arrange them to form a message between you and the recipient.
In the theatre world, flowers became part of the tradition and superstition of the play in the Middle Ages. From those early years, the belief started that having flowers on stage was unlucky, unless they were handed to a leading lady at the end of the performance, at which point it is considered good luck.
Our current era of flowers has changed little from previous times. We may not send literal messages in flowers, but a rose on Valentines Day says more than words ever could.