Do you want to know what does the calla lily symbolize? A darling of wedding planners, calla lily is a very attractive flower which not only has some legends attached to it, but it also has some symbolic meaning.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin: even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” ~ Matthew 6:28-29
Flowers are given a specific meaning throughout history by flower enthusiasts. Just as the red rose is a symbol of love, there are many other symbolic meanings of flowers that represent a specific emotion or feeling.
Similarly, the popular flower, calla lily, seen at weddings too has a symbolic meaning. In this article, we shall answer the question, does calla lily have a symbolic meaning.
What is a Calla Lily?
A calla lily, as the same suggests is not actually a true lily. It is also not even a calla. The calla lily belongs to the genus Zantedeschia and is grown from rhizomes. It blooms late in spring and is also known as the arum lily, pig lily, the tantalizing water dragon and trumpet lily. Calla lilies are native flowers of southern Africa. It was first cataloged in the mid 1700s.
The famous Swedish botanist, Carolus Linnaeus, made an error in naming this beautiful plant species. This error was corrected by Karl Koch, a German botanist. He established a new genus, zantedeschia. However, the old name ‘calla lily’ continues to be used till date. Calla lily can grow continuously in water and even survive a mild frost.
Let us now get into the details of this elegant flower’s symbolic meaning in the following paragraphs.
Meaning of Calla Lilies
During the flower language boom in the Victorian period of 19th century, there were strict social codes and if one had to express ones feelings, flowers were the best medium. The person who made the offer to the way the flowers were arranged, all had a specific meaning. Thus passionate messages were delivered to the recipient, without the use of words through flowers. During this time, calla lily was used to express many such hidden symbols. Calla lily due to its physical resemblance to female genitalia was called an overtly sexual one. This sexual calla lily meaning was brought forward to admirers by Freud and other artists like Georgia O’Keefe.
Legend Behind Meaning of Calla Lily
The main and the most significant calla lily meaning is magnificence and beauty. The calla lily name finds its origin from a Greek word for beauty. The meaning originates from a Greek myth that says the lily originated from the breast milk of Greek Goddess, Hera.
The legend goes that Zeus, the Roman God fathered Hercules with his association with a mortal women Alceme. He wanted his son to partake more of divinity and become mortal. So, he brought Hercules to Hera after drugging her to sleep. He placed baby Hercules at her breast and Hercules began nursing. When Hera got up from her sleep, she was shocked after seeing a baby nursing her. She flung the baby away from her. When doing so, some of her milk gushed across the heavens and formed the milky way. Some of the few drops fell on earth and these drops sprang in the first lilies on earth.
The Roman legend further goes that when Venus arose from the sea-foam she saw the lily and overcame with a pang of jealously. The snow-white beauty of the lily made Venus think of it as a competitor to her beauty. She cursed the lily and huge, heavy pistil sprang from the lily’s center. Thus, calla lily symbolized the association of Venus and the Satyrs, who personify the feelings of lustful ardor.
Does the Calla Lily have a Symbolic Meaning?
The common question asked by many after seeing a calla lily as a wedding flower and even funeral flower is, what does the calla lily symbolize. The Christian Easter service uses the calla lily meaning as a symbol of ‘Resurrection’. The cone-like flowers are thought to symbolize trumpets heralding victory. Calla lily also symbolizes Christ’s passion on the cross. It is thought to be a symbol of Jesus’ Resurrection. Throughout history, calla lily has been expressed in art and paintings with the Virgin Mary or with the Angel of Annunciation. This is because it symbolizes purity, holiness and faith. Calla lilies are strong symbols of rebirth at spring, youth and innocence.
Calla lilies are available in pink and yellow, other than white color. White symbolizes cleanliness, rectitude and virginity. Thus, calla lily symbolizes brilliance of truth and holiness. Calla lilies are also a symbol of elegance and sophistication. They are the traditional symbols of marriage. They also mark the 6th wedding anniversary. The classic white calla lily meaning stands for purity of thought and the eloquence of heavenly bliss. Thus, they are chosen at weddings as they might bring up the same qualities in the newly weds of faith and devotion. At the funerals, calla lilies are a symbol of sympathy and purity that is restored to the departed soul.
This was all about, what does the calla lily symbolize. Calla lilies will help build a special feeling of devotion and purity at a wedding. The calla lily has carried a significant connection throughout history. They are supposed to bring faith and divinity to any wedding ceremony. It’s a symbol of regeneration and the freshness of spring.