The Language of Flower

The Language of Flower

The Language of Flower

By Zoensangi Ralte

The language I learn after my mother tongue was not English as education expected of me nor was it Hindi as my country seems to demand it of us these days. No, it was the language that was directly associated with the items that could have been my step-siblings considering how much time, care and devotion my mother put in them. In return for this investment my mother made; I grew up in a large compound decorated with beautiful flowers that are always in season and in the best of shapes. 

The book on the sentiments of flowers I found as a child fascinates me even today.

The Language of flowers or Floriography is a language of codes. It is a form of cryptologic communication through the use of flower arrangements. Flowers have been associated with certain meaning throughout the ages. The combination of such symbolic understanding of flowers in the form of flower-arrangement conveys a sentiment that could not be said by the giver to the receiver in plain words.

The association of flowers with meaning have dug its roots deeply in record history. The Greeks have many myths in which maiden are turned into certain plants or how the death of some people brought about certain flowers. Examples of these are the Roses, the Daffodils (Narcissus), the Hyacinths. It is not only in Greece but in many cultures, there are certain histories or myth that indicate a symbolic meaning behind certain flowers.

The use of the language of flowers had been practiced in traditional culture throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. However, it was during the Victorian Age in the 19th century that the popularity regarding the use of floriography grows and formed a lasting impression. These messages lay in a position where direct expression of these words would be frowned upon by the society. So, they use certain flowers and arrangement to speak of their sentiments for them; they use these flowers to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in society that scrutinized them.

The popularity of these symbols develops to the point that there are dictionaries dedicated to floriography which noted down the meaning that certain flowers represented. These dictionaries also help the reader in understanding how different sentiment changes with the color and the shades of the flower.

Even today some of these flower languages are still in practice. For example; the exchanges of roses between lovers in Valentine’s day, representation of daises in art as flower-crown for innocent young girls, the gift of peonies to hospital patients to wish them good health or fast recovery and so on. Nature represent or reflect many aspects of human life and the use of flowers as means of communication is simply one of these reflections.