Most view the carnation as a simple flower; relatively cheap, not very exotic and used often as filler for other more prominent flowers. However, the carnation actually has a rich history and is honored in various ways all around the world.
The official name for the carnation is dianthus, named by a Greek botanist by combining words that translate to “divine flower”. Originally mentioned in greek mythology, the name carnation is thought to be a derivation of the word corona, which was a Greek floral ceremonial crown. The overall symbolism of the carnation flower includes love and fascination; however each color carnation also carries with it a more specific connotation. Pink carnations, for instance, have the most legendary backstory; according to Christian folklore, carnations were first created when the Virgin Mary shed tears as Jesus carried His cross. When she cried, carnations appeared as her tears fell to the ground. Because of this story, the pink carnation has come to represent a mother’s undying love.
Aside from being the official flower of first anniversaries, the carnation is celebrated globally during various holidays. In the United States, the carnation is often worn on Mother’s Day. A red carnation symbolizes a mother still alive, while a white carnation is used to commemorate a mother who has passed away. Similarly, in Korea the carnation is worn by both mothers and fathers on Parent’s Day. Representing love and gratitude, red or pink carnations are also distributed on Teacher’s Day to express admiration. At the University of Oxford, carnations are worn when students take exams, ranging from white for a first exam to red for the final exam.
The carnation is the official flower of January, so if any of your loved ones are celebrating this month, be sure to add carnations into their birthday bouquet! Bagoy’s Florist & Home has many floral gifts that incorporate the carnation – whether by itself or as part of a larger arrangement, this versatile and beautiful flower is a smart choice. Stop in to order your January flowers today!