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April Flower Spotlight: Lily

When thinking about which flower to spotlight for April, there could only ever be one choice. Which flower is most synonymous with April? Like Valentine’s Day is to the rose so Easter is to the┬áLily.

Del SolLily Origins

The fact is, nobody knows where and/or when the lily was discovered. Because it grows in the northern hemisphere in Asia, Europe and North America, it is very possible that the lily has been part of human society as long as such a thing as human society has ever existed. And since humanity and the lily share similar geographical origins, it should come as no surprise that it has cropped up as a symbol in both religious writings and myth that date back to ancient times.

The Lily and Myth

The lily was believed by the ancient Greeks to have been created when a drop of milk fell from Hera’s breast while unwittingly feeding the baby Hercules. (Zeus put her to sleep for the event because she would never have allowed it otherwise. Hercules was the result of one of Zeus’ byblows and as Zeus’ wife, she would be unsurprisingly reluctant to allow the result of that affair to nurse and thus become a god.) The Greeks saw it as a symbol of birth and motherhood.┬áBecause of the pistol in the center, they also saw it as a masculine symbol of high eroticism and sexuality.

 

In Roman mythology, Venus, goddess of love was jealous of the flower’s beauty and thus forced the pistol to rise from it’s center in an attempt to mar its perfection. It was sacred in Minoan society, and a painted image was found in Crete which dates back to ~1580 B.C.E.

Traditional Easter LilyThe Lily and Christianity

The lily is mentioned in both testaments of the Holy Bible, and has become associated with the Virgin Mary as a symbol of purity and chastity. It was also considered representative of death and was adopted as a symbol for the loss of children and the martyrdom of saints.

The Easter lily, a flower most Americans recognize on site and associate with the religious holiday, are native to Japan and did not even in exist in American greenhouses until after WWI when a soldier by the name of Louis Houghton brought some bulbs home after his stay in that country. The American-grown version exploded in popularity during WWII when the Japanese supply was cut-off. It’s popularity has remained and it is the face of the holiday for many families.

Lily Meanings

The lily has many different meanings. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Hope
  • Faith
  • BirthLily
  • Purity
  • Renewal
  • Promise
  • Passion
  • Becoming
  • Chastity
  • Innocence
  • Fertility
  • Cleansing
  • Motherhood
  • Remembrance
  • Transitioning

The lily is a flower rich in history and symbolic meaning. It is beautiful and loved throughout the world by people of all cultures and creeds. It is a popular flower and one that you should have no trouble locating at your local florist.

So send a friend or loved one a bouquet or arrangement with meaning, send them some lilies!

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