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The History of Giving Flowers: Floral Arrangements of Ancient Times

Individuals today spend hundreds of dollars to express their love and sentiment through a beautiful array of flowers. But whether you spend $15 or $1500 on giving flowers, do you know what they mean and how the tradition of flower giving first began?

All over the world, there are hundreds of thousands of flowers that vary in size, shape, color, and smell. How did flowers become such a special part of today's culture? Read on to discover the history of giving flowers and what the tradition means today. 

The Language of Flowers

Each flower type will carry a different meaning. This depends on the color, history, or the way it's arranged within a bouquet. Consumers can even send flowers overseas to express love, regret, remembrance, and celebration. 

So how did flowers come to carry such in-depth meaning? It may surprise you, but our ancient ancestors used flowers long ago to express sentiment and meaning. The French and English discovered an entire language of flowers, called Floriography, in Turkey during the 1700s. 

From this discovery, the language of flowers has continued into modern floral traditions. It helps us to express our feelings, to celebrate, or mourn. But when did this language begin? How ancient is the tradition of giving flowers?

Flowers of Ancient Greeks

Flowers have always been admired for their color and beauty and were often included in ancient myths. Greek mythology talks about plants and flowers in the tale of Persephone or the flowery transformation of Hyakinthos.

But the importance of flowers in Greek tradition wasn't only shown in stories. In fact, the tradition of gifting flowers can be traced back all the way to the Ancient Greeks. They associated flowers with gods and would bring floral offerings to temples. 

Over time, this tradition extended into giving flowers to pretty women or earthly goddesses. From there, the tradition began to change into a way of expressing sentiment. 

Flowers of Ancient Egyptians

The Ancient Greeks weren't the only ones to place value on flowers. The Ancient Egyptians also included flowers in their beliefs and traditions.

Pharaohs used to decorate their carts with flowers before heading into war. Peasants would also adorn themselves and their loved ones with flowers that grew near the Nile River

The Egyptians also gave flowers as gifts to lovers and gods to show their love and adoration. According to Egyptian myths, they used to sing for the Lotus flower at parties and hold a feast to celebrate the Lotus. 

Because the Lotus flower opens in the morning and closes at night, the Egyptians saw this as an image of rebirth and regeneration. Blue Lotus flowers also have a heavy perfume, so ancient artists would paint images of the deceased breathing in the divine perfume of the Lotus.

The flower began to hold special meaning to them because of the way it behaved, looked, and smelled. This shows that Floriography began in its simplest form during ancient times. It has since developed into a complex language of flowers. 

Giving Flowers During the Victorian Era

After the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks, flowers became a way for individuals to express any type of emotion. This was helpful during the Victorian Era when showing your emotions weren't allowed.  

Instead of speaking their emotions, the Victorians would give flowers to express their feelings. They developed unique meanings for each flower depending on the flower's characteristics. 

People began to build bouquets based on what they wanted to express. In fact, flowers became so important in Victorian culture that even the Royal Gardens gave certain flowers a place of honor. 

If you received a gift of flowers during the Victorian Era, it was important that you knew all the different meanings for each flower. You also needed to know the meaning behind how the bouquet was styled and how it was held out to you. 

Sound difficult? The Victorians thought so too. This is why they wrote books and guides on the meanings of flowers and floral arrangements. You can still read them today!

Giving Flowers Today

The US eventually adopted the Victorian tradition of Floriography and giving flowers. Today, individuals can buy a wide range of local and international flowers. 

Although the complex language of flowers is less known, the tradition of giving flowers is still an important part of modern culture. It's now a common practice to give a potted flower as a gift or send a flower arrangement to your spouse at work. 

Floral wreaths now adorn front doors and students exchange corsages and boutonnieres during prom. Individuals send flowers to celebrate, mourn a death, or express romantic feelings. 

Even though you may not know the meaning behind a number of roses or a single orchid, flowers still convey a special meaning when they are given as gifts. The language of flowers continues to have an important role in today's relationships. 

Modern technology even allows us to send family and friends a flower arrangement no matter where they live in the world. With international flower delivery, a mother can send her daughter a bouquet of flowers while she studies abroad. 

Scientific advances have even made it possible to enjoy year-round blooms of certain flowers. Most florists will also have special selections of flowers and can help you create the perfect arrangement for your loved one. 

The Forever Language of Flowers

The special meaning behind giving flowers has been an important part of various cultures for thousands of years. Thanks to our Victorian Era ancestors, a language of flowers helped people share deep feelings and sentiments. 

Although that language isn't as well known today, the meaning behind flowers is a universal and forever understanding. People today can send flowers to their loved ones no matter where they are in the world. 

Need help sending flowers internationally? You can choose your destination country here and we'll help you create a beautiful bouquet to send to your loved one.