The Ancient History of Flowers Leave a comment

Flowers add a splash of colour and freshness in our daily colourless lives. It can cheer up any mood and maybe that is why people offer flowers when someone is angry. Flowers are a symbol of love, gratitude, strength, enthusiasm and prayer.

Archaeologists had discovered skeletal remains of a man two ladies and a newborn child in an Iraq’s cave. It was pretty evident their bodies were covered with flowers. This connection goes back to Pleistocene age when even the Neanderthals used flowers in the burial ceremony.

Different flowers and their histories

1. Roses


In Asia, the first roses were cultivated more than 5000 years ago. Greeks introduced roses to Rome. Egyptian wall paintings hard sketches of roses which were drawn between the 5th century and Cleopatra’s time. Early Christians considered roses to be the symbol of orgy, paganism and lust. Cleopatra was very fond of Roman traditions and is said to have dispersed rose petals in front of Mark Anthony’s feet.

2. Daisy


Daisies are more than 4 thousand years old in this world. When the Minoan place on the Island of Crete was excavated, beautiful gold hairpins whose endings were shaped like daisies were found. Egyptian ceramics had daisies decorated on them. The French word for Daisy is ‘Margeurite’, which is taken from a Greek word meaning ‘pearl.’

3. Carnations


Greek ceremonial crowns were made using these flowers. Carnation comes from the Greek word ‘carnis’ meaning ‘flesh’, which is the true colour of the flower. Some even say that it might have come from the word ‘incarnacyon’ or incarnation, referring to the incarnation of God made flesh.

4. Dahlia


A herbal document was discovered in 1929 which was written in Latin just after 60 years of coming of Columbus. The document mentioned the use of dahlia as a treatment of epilepsy by Aztecs. European scientists figured out that dahlia was a possible source of food for the French when in the 1940s their potato crop was destroyed by a disease.

5. Calendula


Romans used calendula for their dishes. They mixed it with vinegar to season meat and salads. Calendula was also used in wine to help indigestion. The petals are used as ointments and they cure skin irritation, sore eyes, jaundice and toothaches.

6. Lily


Lilies have been around for a long period of time. Even the ancient myths had mention of them and engravings were discovered in a villa in Crete. This was dated back to the Minoan Period about 1580 B.C.

How can we forget the New and Old Testaments where lilies symbolise chastity and virtue? The Christians and the Pagans consider lilies as a symbol of fertility. If you have seen a picture of a Greek marriage ceremony, you will see the bride wearing a

crown of lilies and wheat which are statements of purity and abundance.

7. Sunflower


Sunflowers get their origin from Central and South America and were cultivated for their usefulness, not their beauty. Spain and Italy have sunflowers which grow wildly all over.

Every kind of flower has an interesting story. So, next time you are gifting flowers to someone don’t forget to mention their histories.


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