What Does Gifting Flowers Mean In Different Cultures?
Flowers are enjoyed the world over, but what may mean a joyful gift in one country, could well turn out to be an unwelcome present in another. Discover the meaning behind the flower bouquets you choose and how cultures use flower arrangements to say different things to those they love.
When Gifting Flowers isn’t a Good Thing
Before you have flowers delivered to a new friend or colleague, you may want to consider whether gifting flowers is a good thing in their culture. How could flowers not be a good thing? Well, in Egypt for example, flowers represent death, and so would perhaps not be happily received from any Egyptian friends.
Flower Delivery to Someone you Love
Everyone takes for granted that red roses are a declaration of passionate love, but did you know that in Italy, a dozen red roses also symbolises victory. In Arabic countries lighter coloured flowers are given at weddings and also to celebrate new birth and engagements. Universally, yellow roses are said to represent friendship, and so should be avoided as a gift for your partner or someone you wish to woo.
Potted Plants a No-no in Japan
Some people prefer to gift potted plants rather than fresh flowers, and many people love to receive them. Afterall, potted plants last much longer than fresh flowers. However, in Japan giving a potted plant may not be as well-received as you may hope. Specifically, when visiting a sick person, you should not give them a potted plant as this is seen as bad luck. It is thought that because the Japanese word for “taking root” is a synonym of the Japanese for “staying in bed” that a plant that takes root is very bad luck resulting in the sick person needing to stay in bed longer. Should you ever find yourself needing to give a gift to an ill person in Japan, stick to fresh flowers!
The Symbolism of Colours
You may think it doesn’t matter what colour flowers you give to someone, but as colours have certain meanings in different cultures and countries, it will do you well to be aware. For example, in Germany, white flowers are reserved for funerals, so you will want to avoid giving white blooms to any German acquaintances. In Italy, a birthday boy or girl will be very happy to receive a bouquet of orange flowers as these are said to represent joy and happiness in addition to success. Italians also like to gift orange flowers on anniversaries. In Greece, carnations are traditionally used at funerals and should therefore not be given as gifts.
“What’s in a Name? That Which We Call a Rose?”
Adored across the globe, roses are considered to be the universal flower of love. However, roses may well be a romantic gift in many countries, but some cultures regard roses in a less than romantic light. For instance, in Korea 20 roses are given to you on your 20th birthday, which although a sweet gesture, is hardly romantic. On April 23rd, the day of Saint Jordi, in Catalonia, residents give red roses to each other to commemorate the tale of roses that grew from the blood of the dragon slain by Saint George. It used to be that men would give women a rose and women would give books, but now roses and books are given to both genders on this special day in Catalonia. Should you find yourself being given a single red rose in Vietnam you will be the recipient of a declaration of true love. In Brazil, a bouquet of 12 roses symbolises true love.