For many, the lily is more than just a flower. It is a part of every occasion, be it the birth of a child, wedding of your loved one, or mourning a loss of someone close to your heart. The importance of the lily is found in almost every religion and forms a part of history and folklore.
Did You Know?
Lilies are considered as the traditional flower gifts for 30th wedding anniversary celebrations.
Flowers always had a symbolic meaning since the olden days. The significance of this exquisite flower is a topic of interest for many, so let’s take a closer look at this flower that makes every moment of our lives all the more special.
In Christianity, the lily is considered as a symbol of chastity and purity. It is portrayed in the art forms of early Christian paintings, typically resting in a vase. The flower is also associated with Virgin Mary.
According to the general belief, the tomb of Virgin Mary was adorned with white lilies. The different parts of the flower were personified by attributing the features of Virgin Mary to them. While the leaves of the lily symbolized her modesty, the white petals represented innocence and purity. The stem of the flower was considered to be the symbol of Mother/Virgin Mary’s religious nature.
The Anglican churches in England use a unique symbol of this flower — a lily crucifix. In these churches, Jesus Christ is either shown holding a lily plant, or is shown crucified on a lily. Although such depictions are few, this symbol has its roots in the medieval belief that Jesus Christ’s annunciation and crucifixion took place on the same day of the same year.
Three-Petal Lily in France
Fleur-de-Lis, a portrayal of a three-petal lily in France, represents prosperity and royalty. The three petals of lily are often used to depict a trinity symbol of Hope, Faith, and Charity.
In Buddhism, tiger lily represents mercy, compassion, and aggressive traits associated with feminine nature.
Although water lily does not fall under the same family as the other lilies, it is still widely called a “lily”, and has significance in both Buddhism and Hinduism. The water lily symbolizes enlightenment and purity of the soul, since the flower blooms or emerges from the mud.
Mythology and Ancient Times
According to Greek mythology, the lily stands for motherhood and rebirth because it is believed that lily was formed or created from the milk of Hera, wife of Zeus.
In ancient Greece, people regarded lily as a symbol of sexuality. This flower also had an important role to play in the old folktales. As per the tradition, it is said that old wives always approached an expectant mother with a lily and a rose flower; the lily would symbolize a boy and the rose would represent a girl. Thus, if the mother picked the rose, it would be a baby girl, and if she picked the lily, it would be a baby boy!
Roman legend says that when Venus, the goddess of love, rose from the water and witnessed a lily, she became envious of the beauty of the flower. She couldn’t stand its beauty and feeling threatened, gave the flower an additional element — a large and long pistil at its center, in the hope that by doing so she will make the flower less attractive. Lily is thus also symbolized as proclamation of love and lust, which is also represented by Venus.
~Tiger lily stands for courage and belligerent nature of women. It’s also known to represent one’s balanced and energetic life.
~The Easter lily stands for virtue, hope, and life. Legend has it that these lilies were created from Christ’s sweat and celebrate his resurrection three days after he was crucified, hence the name.
~Stargazer lilies symbolize religious zeal and belief in the Almighty. They are also a symbol of liberation of a person from obstacles and worries.
~Calla lilies are affiliated with both weddings and funerals. In terms of weddings, they stand for everlasting purity and honesty. Since it is also widely considered as a symbol of reincarnation, calla lilies are used for funerals and are seen planted in cemeteries. Like the water lily, calla lilies, too, belong to a different botanical family.
~Lily of the Valley is given as a gift for second wedding anniversaries and symbolizes elegance, calmness, and gentleness.
~Red lilies portray love, ardor, and affection for your loved ones.
~Orange lilies stand for happiness, love, and warmth.
~Pink lilies represent wealth, youth, vigor, and joy.
~White lilies are the symbol of purity, innocence, tranquility, and humility.
~Yellow-colored lilies represent merriment and playfulness.
The colors are often found in various shades of the ones mentioned above. However, the symbolism of the prominent colors remains the same.
Analysis of dreaming of lilies has been done by many. It could mean that it is time to put your thoughts into action. It also suggests that the person having such dreams is in search of tranquility and possibly has a chaotic life, thus seeking for a balanced well-being.
A beautiful flower to behold, the lily will always hold a special place in the lives of many. Popular not only for its beauty, but also for the various meanings it conveys, a lily forms the essence of every social affair.