Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas Hyacinths

I love the scent of flowering Hyacinths at Christmas – the flower represents rebirth and takes its name from an ancient Greek legend. Apollo was teaching a handsome young Greek called Hyakinthos the art of throwing the discus. Zephyr, who was the god of the West Wind, was overcome with jealousy and he blew the discus back. It struck Hyakinthos on the head and killed him. From his blood grew a flower, which the sun god Apollo named after him.

The wild Hyacinth is a native of Turkey and the Middle East, along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Hyacinths were grown in Europe in the time of the Greeks and Romans. Both Homer and Virgil noted the sweet fragrance. After this, the Hyacinth faded from history, and did not reappear until the 16th century when it was reintroduced into Western Europe from Turkey and Iran. In the Victorian language of flowers the Hyacinth flower symbolizes sport or play, and the blue Hyacinth signifies sincerity.

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