There are many universal ways of expressing one’s message without the need of a vocal conversation. Besides any form of non-verbal communication, giving physical items is an effective and traditional way of expressing different messages. And amongst these physical items, are flowers.
Throughout human history, flowers have played a vital role in the environment and human lives. Although specific meanings, traditions, and symbolism have changed, flowers have remained a part of human connection. However, how did flowers start to mean something to humans?
History of flower giving
The human race has been using flowers as a way to communicate for hundreds of years. It is said that the giving of flowers started because of the myths and stories of the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese. Aside from the aforementioned nations, it is believed that the custom of gift-giving started to be practiced more during the Victorian Era (1837 – 1901).
The Victorian Era was when flowers replaced romantic words. This was because expressing feelings through romantic words during these times was considered taboo, so people would resort to flowers to say what they could not. This custom and tradition gave way to Floriography or the language of flowers.
During the Victorian Age, “official” meanings were given to flowers and were written on the Floriography dictionary. As time went on, certain customs and traditions changed. These changes allowed different cultures all over the world to give flowers a variety of meanings and symbols. Here are the top three countries where gift-giving is popular:
Japan is a country that is popular for being rich in tradition. The Japanese value their traditions remarkably that they would still practice some of it today. In a progressive world, cultural customs and traditions are oftentimes overlooked, or worse, forgotten. That is not, however, the case in Japan.
Gift giving and flower-giving in this country are largely associated with tradition. Gifts are not just given during special occasions though, they are also given because of social obligations. An example of this is giving gifts or “omiyage” (souvenirs) to your family after returning from a trip.
Japan’s culture of gifting flowers can be a bit tricky. It is important to understand the meaning of flowers to the Japanese, to convey your message well, and to not offend local people. Red flowers are famous in Japan because of its positive meanings, which are often given to the family.
France is considered as one of the most romantic cities on Earth. Flowers are great signs of love and romance, so, it is no wonder that flower-giving is a big part of this nation. Flowers are often given during occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas.
France does not have strict rules when it comes to flowers. They are usually just given to brighten someone’s day and put a smile on the recipient’s face. If you wish to gift your lover a bouquet, you can never go wrong with red roses since these are only given to the person you are in love with.
United States of America
The United States of America is probably the most relaxed when it comes to gift-giving. Gifts are given as a sign of thoughtfulness and are oftentimes unexpected. Americans do not expect gifts especially if they did not give one first.
Floral gifts are popular and are commonly given during holidays like Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Valentine’s Day. Americans usually associate giving flowers with celebrations and a sign of tenderness.
Flower giving in today’s world
As time went by, more flowers have been discovered. Not just that, but more flower combinations and arrangements have been found. Each of these comes with its unique message to convey. One of the famously known messages that flower-giving express is the love for someone else.
Now, living in the 21st century, the history of flower giving continues to be written. Giving flowers can send a message for birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, and weddings. It can also be a sign of sympathy, love, care, or an “I am thinking of you always” thought.
With today’s technological advancement, it is hard to imagine how people still rely on inanimate objects like flowers to convey messages and express feelings. So why are people still doing this? And why do people continue to value flowers? Here are a few reasons why:
This is one thing that has never changed since the Victorian Era. People give flowers to convey messages without using words. Whether its love, grief, affection, gratitude, or sympathy; flower-giving expresses people’s deepest feelings.
A flower’s message varies greatly depending on its color, type, and the way it is arranged. Generically, flowers mean love and care since it is mostly given to a person’s family or loved ones.
Since flowers are used to express emotions, flower-giving builds a stronger and more intimate relationship. Receiving flowers, especially your favorite ones, shows that someone took their time to think about you. Thus, gives you a sense of importance.
Gift-giving is about details and flower gifting is not an exception. Intimate connections are built by the giver remembering trivial details and interests about a person. If you give someone their favorite flowers, it can show that you paid attention.
Flowers are now more accessible than ever. With most flower shops going online and offering delivery services, it is more convenient for people. Whilst flowers are usually given personally, you can opt to have it sent especially if you live miles away.
Flowers have been used as a form of communication since the olden times. As you can see, that has not changed in the modern-day. Different flowers can mean different things in different cultures. It is best to understand and be educated before giving flowers to people from another culture.
The world is constantly evolving and so are the reasons for giving flowers. Certain traditions and rules in giving flowers have changed, and some have vanished (it has also gained various meanings) yet it remains as one of the most common ways to express oneself.