Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Language of Flowers on Valentines Day

Flowers have always held symbolic meanings and if you are interested in the Language of Flowers you can send a secret message to your loved one on Valentine's Day by choosing particular blooms. Floriography was introduced to Europe by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu who travelled to the Middle East in 1716 who was then the English ambassador to Constantinople and the first European flower dictionary to be published was written in France in 1818 by Madame Charlotte de Latour and was titled "Le Language des Fleurs".

During the Middle Ages harsh restraints were placed on courtships and this led to the exchange of flowers to grow amongst couples, as the flowers they gave symbolised different messages, allowing couples to express themselves secretly without others seeing or hearing.

Flower meanings progressed through the 1600’s and became so refined that even military messages could be sent in a harmless gift of flowers. Floriography soon became highly fashionable and the Victorians used it extensively to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. This language was most commonly communicated through Tussie-Mussies, an art which has a following today.

A tussie-mussie, which literally means sweet posey, is a small bundle or bouquet of flowers sometimes referred to as a "word posey" or "nosegay". The little bouquet would be surrounded by lace and tied with ribbons.

Where a girl wore a tussie-mussie presented by an admirer signified her feelings toward him. If pinned in her hair it meant "caution;" in her cleavage preserved in a bosom bottle stood for "remembrance or friendship." However, if it were pinned over her heart this was a declaration of love. If the flowers handed over were in the right hand it would mean “yes” to a question, just as flowers handed over in the left hand would mean “no”.

Queen Victoria believed in the language of flowers. Myrtle was tucked among the flowers of her bridal bouquet symbolizing constancy in affection and duty. She had it planted and it grew. Today at every royal wedding in England a piece of her myrtle is either tucked into the bride’s bouquet or added to a floral arrangement at the wedding breakfast.

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