- The history of the language of flowers
The Victorian era has always been strongly linked with the language of flowers, mainly focusing on love, but the meaning of flowers goes back to even earlier times than this; with strong religious, cultural, and symbolic meanings.
There are though many differences in the symbology and meanings of flowers between eastern and western philosophies. Eastern flower meanings tend to be closely related to living a long life, prosperity, wisdom … for example, the oriental symbology of the blossom from the early flowering trees such as the cherry tree, are very important in Japan as it represents the cycle of life.
Victorian women elaborated on floriography (the language of flowers), expressing their feelings within the boundaries of social etiquette. Flowers were often used to get their silent message across, by communicating their feelings and thoughts when ordinarily they were unable or not allowed to do so.
As well as the particular meaning of a flower, the scent was also an important factor. If a floral scent could be detected on a ladies handkerchief by the person she wanted to relay a particular message to, it would further their silent conversation.
The whole theatrics of the art of this particular communication, could also be changed by how the flower was displayed. If the flower was upright or upside down, the message meant that the secret meaning was either positive or negative. Ribbons were also used and depending on how they were tied, displayed another hidden message.
Considerations had to be made about the type of flower, the way the flower was worn, the colour and scent, as they all played an important part.
If you were waiting for a reply from a certain message, it could be answered in the following manner, if a flower was given to you from their right hand the answer was yes, if it was from their left hand that meant no.
The language of flowers had so many particular traditions and significance associated with it, it made it even more crucial to pay attention to the merest detail displaying and answering the message correctly.