Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tradition Thursday: Symbolic Flowers

Since flowers are what we know best, today we're talking about wedding flower traditions.

In the earliest marriage ceremonies, brides carried garlands of strong smelling herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits. But the tradition of carrying a bouquet has been around since Ancient Rome, where brides carried wheat to symbolize their husband's future prosperity.

In Ancient Greece, they instead carried ivy, symbolic of never-ending love because of the way it grows.

Later in Spain, brides carried bouquets of orange blossoms, which bear both fruit and flowers simultaneously, which they thought symbolized happiness and fertility.

This flower is often also used in Greek Orthodox weddings, where both the bride and groom wear crowns of orange blossoms, the flower's white color symbolizing purity.

By the 18th Century, bouquets were commonplace in weddings, symbolizing the fragility of life, the new life of the couple and purity. These bouquets often contained herbs, especially dill, which was eaten after the wedding ceremony because it was seen as an aphrodisiac.

In Victorian England, people attached very strong meanings to the flowers they used for weddings. Orange blossom headpieces were also extremely important here and part of proper wedding etiquette. If they were out of season, they would even use wax replicas of the flower. Among other flowers used for the bouquet, roses stood for love, daisies for innocence and stephanotis for happiness.

Today, important flower traditions for weddings continue all over the world. In Thailand, both the bride and groom's mothers drape intricate flower garlands over the couple for good fortune.

In the Middle East, the idea of the bitterness and sweetness of life is included in bouquets as the bitter herb artemisia is included with the other flowers.

Maybe next time you're at a wedding full of cultural style, you'll stop to notice all the flower customs that are part of it!

No comments:

Post a Comment