Anniversary Flowers: What Should You Give?
Without doubt the most celebrated anniversary of all is the Wedding Anniversary and there’s no better way to express your feelings than by giving flowers. Who can fail to be thrilled when they open the door and find a bouquet or arrangement complete with a romantic note? Certainly where women are concerned romance is not complete without flowers; but there are so many – how do you choose? One way is to look at the anniversary itself and take inspiration from tradition. Flowers alone are a lovely gift, flowers you’ve thought about are even better.
Before the 1930′s only anniversaries 1, 10, 20, 25, 50, and 70 had a material and flower assigned to them however over the years more have been added, these are the traditional ones that most people are familiar with.
1st – Carnation: Symbol of pride and beauty. Also know as the paper anniversary.
The Goddess Artemis was coming home from an unsuccessful days hunting when she met a shepherd playing his pipes. She was angry, accused him of frightening the animals and plucked out his eyes. But later she realised the dreadful thing she had done and threw the eyes on the ground and in their place carnations grew.
2nd – Lilly of the Valley: Symbol of Purity of Heart. Also known as the Cotton anniversary.
The Lilly of the Valley was created from Eve’s tears as she was cast out of the Garden of Eden.
3rd – Sunflower: Symbol of pure thoughts and dedicated love. Also known as the Leather anniversary.
Clytie the nymph was so sad when Helios, the Sun God, did not return her love that she sat on the ground day and night watching him ride his chariot across the sky until eventually her limbs began to take root in the earth and she turned into the flower we know today as the Sunflower.
4th – Hydrangea: Symbol of heartfelt emotions. Also know as the linen anniversary.
First discovered in Japan, the name hydrangea comes from the Greek ‘hyder’ meaning water and ‘angos’ meaning a jar or a vessel, this roughly translates to ‘water barrel’, referring to the hydrangeas need for plenty of water.
5th – Daisy: Symbol of loyal love and cheerfulness. Also known as the wood anniversary.
The Daisy is said to have sprung from the tears of Mary Magdalene at Christ’s Crucifixion.
6th – Calla Lilly. Symbol of magnificence and beauty. Also known as the iron anniversary.
In ancient Rome the Calla Lilly was associated with the winter solstice and the flowers were forced to bloom inside during the darkest time of the year to celebrate the preservation of light. In the early 20 century they were thought of as the funeral flower but later became associated with weddings.
7th – Freesia: symbol of innocence and thoughtfulness. Also known as the copper anniversary.
Freesias go back some 200 years in South Africa. These fragrant flowers got their name when Dr Christian Ecklan named it after his friend German botanist Frederich H.T. Freese.
8th – Lilac: symbol of youthful innocence. Also known as the pottery anniversary.
Lilac got it’s name from the Greek word ‘syrinx’ which means ‘pipe’ because woodsmen made their pipes from lilac.
9th – Bird of Paradise flower: Symbol of joyfulness and magnificence. Also known as the willow anniversary.
The Bird of Paradise is known as the Crane Flower in it’s native South Africa. It is named after actual Birds of Paradise which are the most beautiful birds in the world, with their brightly colored plumage and fan like tails.
10th – Daffodil: Symbol of new beginnings and eternal life. Also known as the tin
One of the most popular of the spring flowers. Always give them in a bunch never a single flower which means bad luck.
11th – Tulip: Symbol of the declaration of love. Also known as the steel anniversary.
The most popular spring flower of all time, known for it’s many colors, heights and shapes.
12th – Peony: Symbol of happy marriage and good health. Also known as the silk anniversary.
Paeon was the student of Asclepius, God of Medicine and Healing. Leto, Goddess of Fertility, taught him how to obtain a magical root that would soothe the pain of women in childbirth. But Asclepius was jealous and threatened to kill his pupil. Zeus saved Paeon by turning him into a Peony flower.
13th – Chrysanthemum: symbol of fidelity and optimism.Also known as the lace anniversary.
Confucius first wrote about the Chrysanthemum in 500 BC. Until recently it was the flower of the nobles and commoners were not allowed to grow them. They are one of China’s ‘Four Most Graceful Plants’, the others being orchid, bamboo and ume. The Chinese say; If you would be happy for a lifetime, grow Chrysanthemums.
14th – Dahlia: Symbol of dignity and good taste. Also known as the Ivory Anniversary.
An ancient legend tells that Dahlias appeared on the place where the last fire died down before the Glacial Epoch. The Dahlias birth became a sign of hope that eventually life and happiness would return.
15th – Rose. Symbol of love, passion and perfection. Also known as the crystal anniversary.
The Rose in all it’s varieties is still the most popular flower in the world and is considered to be the symbol of love.
20th – Aster: Symbol of patience and love of variety. Also known as the China anniversary.
The Aster grew from the tears of Alsterea, Goddess of the ‘Starry Sky’ who cried when she saw no star when she looked down upon the Earth.
25th – Iris: Symbol of wisdom and valued friendship. Also known as the silver anniversary.
The Iris was named after Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow and messenger of the Gods.
30th – Lily: Symbol of purity and refined beauty. Also known as the pearl anniversary.
Dedicated to the Goddess Hera, the lily was an important flower throughout the ancient world. Lilies were carved on the walls iof Solomons temple, mentioned frequently in the bible and a sacred flower to the Minoans. According to legend, when Hera flung the baby Hercules from her, her breast milk splashed across the heavens forming the Milky Way, but a few drops fell to earth and from these sprang the first lilies.
40th – Gladiolus: Symbol of strength of character. Also known as the ruby anniversary.
Svet and Terres were two Thracian warriors who were ordered to fight each other in Rome’s Coliseum before becoming gladiators. The winner would marry the commander’s daughter – but they plunged their swords into the ground and refused to fight. The crowd were displeased and the pair were put to death, but as their bodies touched the ground, from their sword handles grew two Gladioli.
50th – Violet: Symbol of modesty, faithfulness and innocence. Also known as the gold anniversary.
Napoleon’s Josephine wore a necklet of violets on the day of their wedding and Napoleon sent her a posy of violets every year on their anniversary.
60th – Also known as the diamond anniversary.
There is no specific flower for the 60th anniversary, but recent years have seen the rise of some charming customs.
1. A bouquet of different types of white flower, one flower for each year.
2. Gifts of appropriately named rose or other plants for the garden, such as the lavender rose ‘Diamond wedding’ or the perfectly named Agapanthus (in greek it means ‘love flower’ in the variety ‘double diamond’.
3. Sometimes gifts flow the other way, with children combining to buy their parents a significant gift, while the happy couple give plants to the children and grandchildren as a permanent reminder of the occasion.
The celebration of the 60th anniversary became popular when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. The word ‘diamond’ comes from the Greek ‘adamas’ which means unconquerable and enduring. Many believe the ‘fire’ in the diamond symbolizes the constant flame of love.
70th – A beautiful bouquet. Also known as the platinum anniversary.
Nothing much is written about this anniversary but it is set to become more common. Any and every flower is appropriate as a celebration of a very special relationship which has withstood the test of time, but perhaps the best idea is to return to the symbolism of the wedding bouquet itself, perhaps repeat the flowers the bride carried so long ago, or give the gift of orange blossom, the symbol of eternal love.