&Open Jan 21, 2020
Gifts can have additional meanings, handed down by traditions of history, culture, faith and folklore.
From marking anniversaries with different materials and minerals, to celebrating religious festivals with certain types of food offerings, there’s a symbolic language of presents that goes beyond the literal. Giving becomes something closer to ceremony or ritual.
A well-known example of this is the extensive language that surrounds the giving of flowers. Their significance throughout history transcends the botanical, reaching deeply into the poetic, the emotional, and romantic. We revere flowers for their beauty and a lot can be said by the blooms you give.
The mimosa first became a symbol of women’s freedom to be gifted on March 8th, 1946: now named International Women’s Day. The gesture was a simple one; Italian women gifted the flower to one another on the day in order to highlight their plight as undervalued and overworked employees.
An auspicious name for a flower descended from the German Vergissmeinnicht, the forget-me-not is a flower that wears its heart on its sleeve. The stories behind the name vary (one eludes to the flower forgetting its name while blooming in the Garden of Eden), but the aim of gifting such a flower remains the same — to induce a favourable and long-lasting memory of the sender.
Hailing from China and only seasonally abundant, a peony says as much about the sender as it does the recipient, with their different colors indicating the level of affection or message inherent in the gift.
Once synonymous with medicinal properties, nowadays, they’re now associated with wealth, prosperity and love. The pinker the peony, the more romantic the meaning. The paler pinks indicate bashfulness and well-meaning, while the red peonies featured here are a wish for wealth and prosperity.