There is hardly a gift more popular than flowers. There are so many varieties and colors to choose from, you are never without a gift option. Giving flowers as gifts goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years.
The tradition of giving flowers as gifts stems from pre-history. In those times flowers were believed to have medicinal properties. Their smell could also hide unpleasant odors. The most common use for flowers during pre-history was in gravesites. Archeologists have found evidence of this practice around the world, and surmise that the flowers helped to cover the smell of the decomposing body.
That unpleasant image aside, flowers continued to be given as gifts as pre-history gave way to the ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman societies. By the Middle Ages, flowers began to be used as a way to express affection and love. Thus, flowers moved from having a practical use to an emotional one.
The Language of Flowers was a tradition brought to Europe from Turkey in the 18th century. This tradition gave each flower a meaning. Certain flowers began to express certain emotions and therefore were more appropriate for some gift-giving circumstances. The 19th-century Victorian era further codified this practice.
Now, you may be wondering what all of this history has to do with giving flowers on holidays. That is a great question. Here’s the answer.
As flowers became more popular as a gift and attained certain meanings, they began to appear in certain holiday traditions. Today, poinsettias are inextricably linked with Christmas, and roses are synonymous with Valentine’s Day. The flower meanings brought to Europe in the 18th century explain why these two flowers are linked with those holidays. Roses are used to expressing love and devotion. The points on the poinsettia are believed to resemble the Star of David, which makes this flower a symbol for Christmas. The most popular flowers for each common U.S. holiday are described in detail below.
You don’t have to limit your flower gift-giving to a few holidays. Instead, flowers are a great gift for any holiday or occasion. And no, giving flowers does not have to signify that you forgot to send a gift. Flowers themselves make a great personal gift. Providing someone with a bouquet of their favorite flowers or a live plant in their favorite color says, “I love you” and “I’m thinking of you” in a way no other gift can.