A Year of Objects
Throughout time, men and women of all cultures and all societies have sought answers from what they held to be visibly beautiful items on earth and of the skies. Light has long been associated with ingenious imagination and even more so, regarded as an object of wisdom. The sun, moon, stars, wandering planets and cosmological phenomenon have retained prevailing dispositions of awe, wonder, and mystery by all human beings. Since the most ancient of times, anyone looking to the sky has believed they have found answers for life, whether in fact, fiction, or beliefs of every kind of religion.
The ancient Egyptians sparked the psyche of the ages by attributing 'constellation names' to starry formations, and hence mapping the night sky. By regularly watching those traveling formations, they noticed the recurring change of seasons, and attributed experiences heralded by what they saw in the sky. Among their most frequently seen constellations was Tawaret, a giant hippopotamus goddess, who was believed to help with childbirth. As the stars continued their dance in the sky however, earth below became burdened with new gods and new traditions.
As Greece raised its democracy of sorts, they took traditions from various cultures and translated cultural wisdoms through their lens of philosophy.
January - Carnation and Snow-Drop
Emblem of the month: a garland of sweet-scented tussilage among red-breasted robins. Though this cold and gloomy season seems like an unlikely time for flowers to bloom, certain flowers love the extreme weather. The flower associated with the first month is Carnation and said to symbolize love, fascination and distinction. Carnation, which is also commonly called Gillyflower, is found in a number of colors from pink to purple-red.
1) Evergreen Laurustinas Vibernum tinus - New Years Day Apple blossom; according to tradition an apple decorated with cloves and rosemary or holly, is a lucky gift to give on New Year's Day and even luckier to receive.
6) Screw Moss Tortula rigida - a) On the current calendar in the USA this is also known as, Apple Tree Day. b) Some remember today with the Common Star-of-Bethlehem in honor of the Epiphany
17) Garden Anemone Anemone hortensis - Today's calendar observes this day as the International Walk with Flowers Day.
February - Violet and Primrose
Emblem of the month: a wreath of Snowdrops surrounding a mated pair of Goldfinches. This month is associated with St. Valentine’s Day and red roses. However, the flower for the second month is Violet. The flower symbolizes faithfulness, humility and chastity. The flower is found in shades of blue, mauve as well as yellow and cream.
1) Lesser-Water Moss Fontinalis minor and Bay-Tree Laurus nobilis - St Bridgid, patron of Ireland - others suggest that this is St. Bride's Day - b. Oats - St. Bride's Day is the Celtic celebration of the coming Spring. Girls would make the "last sheaf" of the previous harvest into the image of the Celtic goddess Brigit, to lay in a decorated cradle called the "Bride's Bed." St. Brigid, named for the goddess Brigit, is believed to be a protector of pregnant women and midwives and one of the three patron saints of Northern Ireland. c) The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is always held over the course of the First weekend of February in Thailand.
16) Noble Liver Wort Anemone Anemone hepatica - a) this is also the observance of Lent - Daffodil - Daffodils are associated with Lent, the 40 days of fasting and penitence before Easter Sunday in most Christian churches. The daffodil is sometimes referred to as the, 'Lent Lily.'
20) Lilac Primrose Primula acaulis plena - In the USA, this day is remembered asNational Almond Day.
30) Lesser Periwinkle Vinca minor - a) In the USA this is National Pistachio Day.
31) Lungwort Pulmonaria officinalis - a) In many areas, this day is remembered as Floral Design Day. b) In 1910, the Socialist Party of America celebrated Women's Day, which soon became an International holiday.
March - Jonquil (Daffodil or Narcissus)
Emblem of the month: a bird's nest encircled by almond blossoms; this month is synonymous with the onset of spring. Accordingly the flower associated with the third month is the Daffodil also known as Jonquil or Narcissus. The colors of the bloom include white, yellow and orange. A gift of these flowers conveys the hidden meaning of friendship and happiness.
12) Ixia, or Crocus-Leaved Mistletoe Ixia bulbocodium or Viscum albus bulbus - a) known on the secular calendar as Plant a Flower Day
13) Heart’s Ease Viola tricolor - a) also known in history as Mothering Sunday, with Violets - Flowers, usually violets, are the typical Mothering Sunday present, when children living far from home are to visit their mothers to 'make them a present of money, a trinket, or some nice edible gift.
14) Mothering Sunday is also known today as Mid-Lent Sunday, being the fourth Sunday of Lent - a) Still others have selected to dedicate this day honoring St. Euphrasia with the Pansy.
18) Sweet Violet Violaodorata - a) St Gertrude, abbess, 626; b) others have chosen the Shamrock or White Trefoil and St Patrick, apostle of Ireland
22) Bulbous Fumitory Fumaria bulbosa - St Bennet, or Benedict, founder of the Order of Benedict of Rome, 543 - Others hold theValerian sacred to honor St. Benedict as the founder of monasticism in all of Western Europe; b) This day is also sacred to many cultures as it is the Spring Equinox.
Some traditions honor the Wood Anemone on this day; c) in the USA, today is National Flower Day.
24) Peerless Daffodil Narcissus incomparabilis - a) St Alphonsus Turibius, archbishop of Lima, 1606; b) Others have held this day sacred as the tradititional date of Palm Sunday; c) Flower's Day aka Willow Day - citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria remember Palm Sunday while celebrating the close of a young girls' coming of age and welcoming the warmth of spring.
25) Palm Branches, Yew, and Box - Palm Sunday, commemorates the Christ’s ﬁnal entry into the walled capital of Isreal, Jerusalem. A moveable holiday celebrated a week before Easter, but following the Jewish calendar, due to their keeping track of time by the setting of the sun, instead of 12:00am beginning the new day.
April - Sweet Pea and Daisy
Emblem of the month: a linnet in its nest surrounded by vernal fruze; The fourth month is associated with Sweet pea flower which bloom in a wide range of soft colors as well as two tone colors. It is said to symbolize pleasure or good-bye. In the Victorian era, these flowers formed a part of the bouquet which was sent to someone to convey gratefulness.
1) French Annual Mercury Mercurialis annua; a) On the current calendar as April Fool’s Day. This is one out of 365 days of a year where it's okay and actually encouraged to make mistakes in floral communication.
4) Red Crown Imperial Fritillaria imperialis - others celebrate today with the Puyalley Valley Daffodil Festival - Daffodil - Puyalley Valley Daffodil Festival celebrates the Daffodill ﬂower. A nine-day celebration, it coincides with the blossoming of Daffodils in the Puyalley Valley
6) Starch Hyacinth Hyacinthus racemosus; a) this day is remembered by some in the USA as California Poppy Day.
8) Ground-Ivy Glechoma hederacea a) the National Cherry Blossom Festival - Cherry Blossom - the National Cherry Blossom Festival, held annua$y in Washington, D.C., celebrates the delicate beauty of cherry tree blossoms. The 3,000 cherry trees were a gift from the city of Tokyo in 1912.
20) Spring Snowflake Leucoium vernum; a) in the UK, some remember Lord Beaconsfield by honoring Primrose Day, which was first celebrated in 1883; b) in the USA, this day is celebrated as “National Respect a Lima Bean Day.” We can respect Lima beans by not harvesting their blossoms prematurely.
22) Wooden Crowfoot (Goldilocks) Ranunculus auricomus; a) In the modern calendar this day is remembered as Earth Day, when people celebrate by planting some living thing. The thematic color for this day is apparently “green,” so no one can make a mistake by giving flowers without leaves attached. Gotta share the green!
25) Clarimond Tulip Tulipa proecox; a) on the old British calendar, this day was originally remembered by depicting a bird in a tree, as this was usually the day of the cuckoo’s arrival to the British Isles; b) on the Catholic calendar, this day remembers the martyrdom of Saint Mark, who is assumed to be in character carrying a water pitcher as though sharing his version of the Good News; c) this day is on the current calendar as Secretary and Administration Professionals Day. Send some flowers regardless of gender, but no roses, please. No need for harassment when we're just having fun.
28) Spotted Arum Arum maculatum; a) the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival is remembered with the Apple Blossom on this day - the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival, celebrated in the ﬁrst weekend in May, coincides with the blossoming of the apple trees in the orchards of Wenatchee Valley. The origins of this festival date back to the 1920s.
30) Cowslip Primula veris; a) some in the USA celebrate apple blossoms by observing The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Virginia, which has celebrated the blossoming of such trees throughout the area's famous apple orchards since 1924.
May - Lily of the Valley
Emblem of the month: a branch of hawthorn in full bloom supported by a nest of hungry birds. The month of May is associated with the Lily of the valley flower. It is generally white in color. The flower conveys sweetness and humility. In the Victorian era, it was gifted to convey the romantic message "you've made my life complete."
1) Genser Tulip Tulipa gesnerina; a) others suggest the Bachelor’s Button Lychnis dioica for remembering St James "the Just", apostle, martyred in the tumult of the Temple in Jerusalem.
b) in different parts of the world, May 1 is observed as May Day with Flower Garlands and Lilacs. Such a May Day decoration traces its origins back to pagan ceremonies celebrating the beginning of summer. Couples would go "a-Maying" after midnight, taking branches from trees and decorating them with garlands of ﬂowers. Upon returning home soon after sunrise, the garlands would be placed over doors and windows. According to an old US American myth emanating from the pioneers of the Mid-West, young girls who wore white dogwood blossoms on this morning would be sure to learn the Christian name of their future husbands when meeting the ﬁrst man wearing a white hat that day.
Ever wondered about the symbolic ﬂower that was chosen by English Puritans as they sailed to the New World? It was the Lilac, which was also known as the "May-ﬂower."
Tradition says not to wear lilacs (except on May Day) because bad luck may come upon you.
Giving your betrothed lilacs would indicate the engagement was off!
2) Lily-of-the-Valley, also known as the "May-lily," or May Hawthorn is also called by some, the "May-bloom" or "May-tree," and by a few puritans once upon a time, the Mayflower. Additionally, May Day is also observed throughout Polynesia as Lei Day, which has been an official ﬂoral day celebration in Hawaii since 1928. "Lei Day is May Day," with celebrations and contests for the leis of flower blossoms, seeds, and leaves.
3) Charlock Raphanus raphanistrum; a) Others say that the symbolic ﬂower of this day was the Tansy because the leaves and petals were traditionally the choice for ﬂavoring Lenten cakes at this time of year.
5) Cinco de Mayo is observed on this day, so remember Los floras!
8) Bright Yellow Globe Flower Trollius europoeus; a) May 6-19 is the Flower Festival at Walt Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida of USA. "When you wish upon a..." flower?
9) Bright Orange Globe Flower, Asiatic Trollius asiaticus; a) Celebrated by some now all over the world as Communicate with Flowers Day! If sending blooms to acquaintances overseas, read the chapter on Floral Customs. After all, "When in Rome..."
10) Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis; a) Mother's Day - Carnation - In 1907, Pink Carnations became symbolic of a Mother's love and were chosen as the emblem of Mother's Day.
15) California Poppy Week this seven-day tribute to the flower was first observed in 1996 by Governor Wilson, who originated this festival.
16) Common Comfrey Symphytum officinalis; a) in the present calendar, this is also known as the start of the Tuliintoe Festival in Holland, which is an annual four-day celebration of Tulips, which in 2013 lasted from March 20th to the End of May. This celebratory practice originated on this day in 1927 when a local teacher suggested planting tulips as a civic duty with a means to beautify the land. With a unifying goal ensuring a beautiful country, the project quickly became a National holiday, which is said to be celebrated with a parade and performances by the "Klompen Dancers" in traditional wooden shoes. The locals call this holiday, Festive Tulip Time! If you love Tulips and their messages, make plans to celebrate this holiday week on-site, buy anairplane ticket several months in advance leaving on a Tuesday (cheapest flights) and reserve a hotel room near the center of Keukenhof, make some new friends, and help plant a tulip or two! Other flowers are generously represented as well.
18) Welsh Poppy Papaver cambricum; a) in Michigan, USA, consumers celebrate Flower Day throughout the eastern trading markets of Detroit.
20) Early Red Poppy Papaver argemone; a) also the start of International Wildflower Week - May 17-23
21) Mouse-ear or Hawkweed Hieracium pilosella; a) the Pentecost - Peony - Peony is also known as the Pentecost rose. The Pentecost is the Christian feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles 50 days after Easter.
28) Common Bennet Herb Geum urbanum; a) this day was often represented by several flowers, highlighting the time of year when the winter-rye was believed to shoot.
31) Buttercup Ranunculus acris; a) A tradition of the UK refers to this point of the month as Royal Oak Day. A practice still remembered by some utilizes a wearing of oak twigs or leaves or an oak apple to commemorate the Restoration of Charles II in 1660ad. During concealment, his majesty was hidden in an oak tree for safety (1651). Additionally, superstitions arose during the Middle Ages resulting in traditions of Oak boughs being carried in wedding processions, as it was common belief that the oak apple would bless the union of the couple with fertility and healthy children; b) Remember! While we should always care about helping plants grow, today is celebrated in some places as Water a Flower Day. Don't be afraid to share some of your bottled water today.
June - Rose
Emblem of the month: a wreath of varying grass blossoms and strawberry vines; roses are the flower of this month. Though roses are available in many colors from red to pink to white to yellow, all with their own special meanings, the underlying message the flowers convey is that of love and passion.
1) Yellow Rose Rosa lutea; a) the Royal Poinciana Festival - Royal Poinciana - the Royal Poinciana Festival in Miami coincides with the blooming of the Royal Poinciana trees that line the city’s streets.
4) Indian Pink Dianthus chinensis; a) this is also the day of the annual Portland Rose Festival - Rose - The Portland Rose Festival has celebrated the beauty of the rose since 1907 with parties, parades, and friendly competitions. Portland has come to be known in the USA as the "City of Roses."
10) Bright Yellow Iris Iris pseudo-acorus; this day is thought to be sacred to some by remembering Herb and Spice Day.
12) White Dog Rose Rosa arvensis; a) the current calendar remembers this day as Red Rose Day.
July - Larkspur and Water Lily
Emblem of the month: a garland of purple thyme encircling cherry fruits and blossoms; Larkspur is the flower for July. With its simple form, feelings of open heart and ardent attachment are attributed to it.
1) Agrimony Agrimonia cupatoria; the USA celebrates this day as Creative Ice Cream Flower Day.
August - Gladiolus or Poppy
Emblem of the month: a wreath of oats, wheat and barley with the center filled by purple plums and blossoms; a) The flower for this month is the Gladiolus. It blooms in a variety of colors like red, pink, white, yellow and orange. It stands for sincerity and symbolizes strength of character; c) Friendship Day celebrations take place on the first Sunday of August every year. The tradition of dedicating a day in honor of friends began in US in 1935.
7) Common Amaranth Amaranthus hypochondriacus; a) today is celebrated with the Festival of Flowers in Medellin, Columbia. Lots of concerts, dancing, and fragrant parades.
17) Toadflax Snapdragon Antirrhinum linaria; a) Ikebana International was founded on this day in 1956 by Ella Gordon Allen who lived with her husband when he was stationed in Japan following WWII. The emblematic theme of this conference is, "friendship through flowers." The main convention is held near Washington Heights, Japan. The organized celebration is the oldest, international celebration on record. Remember, no matter where you live, the main tenant of this art form, "keep it simple...simple!"
19) Timothy Grass (Branched Cat’s Tail Grass) Phleum panniculatum (Phleum asperum) - St Timothy, 304; a) on the current calendar in the USA this day is remembered as National Potato Day.
25) Perennial Sunflower Helianthus multiflorus; a) on the current calendar in the USA as National Kiss-and-Make-Up-Day - I bet if you've discussed methods for making up, you'll be getting flowers today.
27) Hedge Hawkweed Hieracium umbellatum; this is sometimes the beginning of a 10-day celebration known as Onam enjoyed in Kerala, India. Lots of flower-carpets are strewn over walk-ways with dozens of bouquets and decorations with myriads of garlands creating walkways with outdoor ceilings.
September - Aster and Morning Glory
Emblem of the month: Clusters of purple grapes surrounded by hop flowers; a) Aster (aka September flower) is the flower for this month. It is found in a number of colors – pink, red, white, lilac and mauve. The name of the flower which looks like a star is derived from the Greek word for star. The flower symbolizes love, faith, wisdom and color.
7) Golden Starwort Aster solidaginoides; a) celebrated by some in the USA as National Acorn Squash Day. This is the day when stuffing edible squash blossoms are particularly in style.
9) Canadian Golden Rod Solidago Canadensis; a) on the Chinese calendar, citizens celebrate Shuāng jiû (Double Nines) on the ninth day of the ninth month. In classical Chinese tradition, the occurrence of two nines in the year is at best unlucky and possibly dangerous. The origin of the holiday goes back almost to antiquity, being cited in documents dating from the time of the East Han period (some time prior to 0025A.D.). In addition to cleaning up family grave-sites, picnicking, and hiking in the mountains; this day has always seen the ever-popular use of Chrysanthemum Tea. Traditionalists on the other hand prefer to make a homemade wine from Chrysanthemum blossoms. As this holiday is extremely family-sacred, it might be a good idea to reschedule your honeymoon or vacation out of respect. Peribology considers that we are all like flowers: you should remember that not one person anywhere can be expected to raise their face towards the sun with bright complexion.
10) Autumnal Crocus Crocus autumnalis; a) celebrated since 1946, this is Inspiration Day!
16) Sea-Blue Starwort Aster tripolium; Lookout! Its Mayflower Day!
21) Variegated Fringed-Leaved Passion Flower Passiflora ciliata; a) celebrated in modern times as the International Day of Peace, or World Gratitude Day, a UN instigated day of remembering each other. In Australia, some remember this day with the Lotus blossom.
26) Great Golden Rod Solidago gigantea; a) on the current calendar its Johnny Appleseed Day! Start laying groundwork for fruitful flowerbeds in the spring.
29) Michaelmas Daisy Aster tradescanti - St Michael and all angels - Dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel - Michaelmas Daisy - Angelica Michaelmas is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels celebrated in the Greek and Roman Catholic churches. It's said that if any acorns fall on St. Michael's Day, there will be a bitter winter; Some remember this day as Confucius Day. If you have invigorating wisdom...say it with flowers! In the USA, this is on the calendar as National Poisoned Blackberries Day.
October - Calendula and Morning Glory
Emblem of the month: a garland of purple, white, and scarlet china asters intermingled with strands of ripened hazel nuts; a) Marigold or Calendula is the flower associated with October. For the Hindus, the month of October is associated with festivals like Dusshera and Diwali and Marigold, an auspicious flower is part of religious ceremonies. However, in English-speaking cultures, marigolds usually evoke sentiments of sorrow and sympathy.
5) Starlike Chamomile, a fungus Boltonia asteroides; a) its World Appreciation Day for Teachers in modern times...say “thank you,” with flowers!
7) Indian Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum Indicum - In 1976, the residents began a tradition of celebrating Arkansas' rich history of at one time being a major apple industry in the USA. The Arkansas Apple Festival remembers this heritage in Lincoln County, Arkansas with the three day Arkansas Apple Festival.
8) Sweet Maudlin Achillea ageratum; on the current calendar as Children’s Day. A fun activity is teaching new generations to communicate with flowers. Zinnias are fun flowers, as are rainbow roses.
15) Sweet Purple Sultan Centaurea moschata; a) in the USA, the 15th is remembered as National Mushroom Day.
16) Yarrow Achillea millefolium; a) this day on the modern USA calendar is National Dictionary Day. Don’t forget your floriographies!
28) Floribund Starwort Aster floribundus; a) in conscious history, this is the birthday of Emily Post. Remember her wisdom by communicating with flowers. Mrs. Post had a marvelous garden with snapdragons, hollyhocks, and bachelor button's, just to name a few. Homegrown garden flowers are most appropriate to exchange on this day, but don't forget: NO Dahlia's on this day. The American pioneer of wit and social graces also kept a gardening journal describing the adventures of her backyard. Emily wrote this one day concerning the flowers, "Dahlias really make me sick!...Little feeble looking shoots [which] look like NOTHING. Two plants from Dreers: spindly, little whisps looking ready to shrivel and die before morning." I may not share her sentiments in everything, but I rather prefer the idea of showing any distaste in written form "for your eyes only."
31) Fennel-Leaved Tick-Seed Coreopsis ferulafolia; a) the popular calendar remembers All Hallow's Eve with the Black Rose. This holiday was associated with the annual waking of the dead stemming from an old myth that November 1 each year would be the day of reckoning or judgment of evil persons by All the Saints.
November - Chrysanthemum
Emblem of the month: a garland of ivy blooms with an accumulation of carrots and turnips in the center
Chrysanthemum, which represents cheerfulness and love in some cultures, is associated with the month of November. According to Feng Shui, Chrysanthemums bring happiness and laughter in the house and restore the permeating moods to graceful character.
1) Laurustinus Laurustinus sempervirens - St Fortunatus - All Saint's Day - all flowers - the mythic day of judgement by All Saints.
3) Primrose Primula vulgaris; a) the present calendar designates this day to remember the Modern House Wife. Don’t forget that flowers can be motivated by kindness. The flower(s) used should be the wife's preferred choice.
11) Weymouth Pine Pinus strobus; a) today is also known as Veteran’s Day - send some flowers. The U.K. remembers this honorable day specifically with the poppy flower.
13) Bay Laurus poetica; a) World Kindness Day - the easiest way to talk internationally is with flowers, but remember the chapter on cultural differences! The flower representing the World Kindness Movement is the garden cosmos.
17) Stramony (Thorn-Apple Tree) Datura arborea; a) this is World Peace Day, you may have just sent flowers on the 11, but a person can never have too much of their favorites!
19) Apple-Fruited Passion Flower Passiflora maliformis; a) the culture of Trinidad and Tobago founded International Men's Day, when it was celebrated for the first time in 1999.
23) Convex Sorrel Oxalis convexula - also, National Eat a Cranberry Day.
December - Holly and Narcissus
Emblem of the month: a garland of holly leaves, berries, vermillion, and a full branch of mistletoe evenly dividing the holiday strand. Narcissus, the flower associated with December, symbolizes respect, modesty and faithfulness.
1) Dark Stapelia Stapelia pulla; also remembered in the USA as, Eat a Red Apple Day.
11) Portugal Cypress Cupressus pendula - Human Rights Day. Remember that everyone deserves flowers!
13) Crowded Heath Erica abietina - also, National Ambrosia Day.
25. Holly Ilex aculeata baccifera - Christmas
26. Purple Heath Erica purpurea
1. Kwanzaa - Gardenia - while no ﬂower represents Kwanzaa overall, these ﬂowers
represent children and family. Keep in mind that traditional colors associated with
Kwanzaa are red, green, and black.