My earliest recollection of receiving flowers would date back some twenty years ago when my uncle gave me a walking doll (I later on called her Tricia) and a lei for completing my first school year as the class valedictorian. I hung on to my lei for a couple of days before it wilt away. In between admiration and bragging to gal pals, I wondered what the beautiful lei were for. When it finally gave up and browned on me, I thought, “Why did Tito gave me something that will just die?”
Egyptian inscriptions, Chinese writings, and the symbolic use of flowers in both the Greek and Roman mythology show that the act of giving flowers has been around since the prehistoric times. During the Middle Ages, courtship is severely prohibited such that lovers have managed to communicate only through the language of flowers (otherwise known as Floriography). The type, color, and manner of giving flowers defined the messages sent. For instance, if a question’s been asked and a flower’s been given using the right hand, the answer to the question is “yes”. Handing a flower via the left hand means “no”. Presented upright, the flowers bring a positive message. A negative message usually denotes a flower presented upside down. Surprisingly, even a piece of clothing bearing a scent of a flower can be a message sender where it carries the same message its flower would have.
The surge of theatre, operas, and ballets during the Renaissance also gave room to flowers to become symbols of superstitions. Having real flowers on stage and receiving them before a performance connote bad luck. Prohibiting the use of real flowers on stage does make sense since the lights will only cause it to wilt. Handing a performer after his stint is said to bring in good luck.
Flower giving is still very rampant today and undoubtedly will stay for the years and years to come. After all these years of development and hybridization, the selection and messages behind flowers is just infinite. Understanding that each flower has a distinct meaning from each other should remind us to do our homework before we run to the flower shop the next time we intend to hand them out. Not only will this relish and put value on the flower language but will also help us get our message across right the first time we say it.