History of the Tradition of Flower Giving
Have an anniversary coming up? Give them flowers! Don't have a gift for your friend's birthday? Grab a bouquet of their favorite blooms! Want to cheer up your loved one but don't know how? Flowers will do the trick!
Giving bouquets as a present has been consistent through different periods and cultures. But when exactly did it begin?
In this article, we discuss the history of the practice of flower giving. We'll see how it developed through history and spread around the world.
Finally, we learn why this tradition was so important in the Victorian Era. We find out how almost everybody knew exactly the meanings and messages flowers kept.
For a crash course on the language of flowers, check out our next article!
Interested in a formal course? Want to get certified as an expert on all things floral? We encourage you to look into organizations that offer programs in floristry, such as:
Flowers and Gift-Giving Traditions.
The earliest dates of giving flowers go back to the time of Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and the Roman Empire.
These three societies often used flowers in religious traditions. They based their own personal use of flowers on their beliefs.
The Greeks used them as props for theater. They also made them into decor for ceremonies. Later, they began exchanging flowers to show devotion towards one another.
Societies all throughout history have continued the practice of gifting flowers. During the Middle Ages, people from Turkey put together the first list of symbolisms for flowers.
This later extended throughout the world. Other cultures changed these to their customs and beliefs.
The Victorian Era and Flowers.
People from the Victorian Era are often known for being at the height of elegance.
But did you know they used flowers to express deep, unspoken feelings towards each other?
At that time, people were starting to get more into gardening and flower care. They sought to grow robust, beautiful flowers. They also raised new flower varieties.
The flowers, in turn, acted as a form of communication. It relayed messages between lovers, friends, families, and even acquaintances.
Flowers conveyed sentiments ranging from "I love you", to "I adore you, my friend", to "I'm sorry". They played a vital role in how Victorian-era citizens made their feelings known.
See, Victorian people thought that stating how you feel was tacky. So they adapted the list of flower meanings back in the Middle Ages. Then, they conformed these into how they engaged with each other.
This even extended to romances! Courting was usually done through exchanges of flowers.
Some groups even came up with alternate meanings to flowers. They did this to interact in secret, hidden from prying eyes.
Not long after, most individuals knew what each and every flower and floral arrangement meant. They could hold an entire conversation without saying a word.
The practice of flower giving became quite popular. Soon enough, people started using bouquets to send particular messages to people. Even the way that the person presented the floral gift became part of their message. This tradition carried on (of course with less dramatic quality) across history.