There was a great deal of excitement in our home last week. My wife Annie was ecstatic. The potted lily plant in her balcony garden had flowered. She started telephoning/emailing everyone she could think of to break the happy news. Some of the close ones in Chennai came home to see the beauties.
I took a few photographs. Two of them are reproduced below (click to enlarge):
Stunning, aren’t they?
Lily is a fascinating flower. And an ancient one. Images of lilies discovered in
The Greeks claimed that lilies sprouted from the spilled breast milk of Hera, the queen of gods. That would have been the white lily, to start with. The Germans agreed with this story with difference that the milk was that of their Goddess Juno. The Roman’s maintained that there was a link between lilies and Goddess Venus.
In Christianity, lilies have a connection with Virgin Mary. Several paintings of the Annunciation (Angel Gabriel informing Virgin Mary about her conception of Christ) show the Angel carrying lilies. Here the flower signifies purity, chastity and virtue. The Egyptians associated lily with fertility. In
In ‘saying it with flowers’, lilies have an important role. The ‘flower language’ was developed to a high level during the Victorian era. The etiquette or stringent protocol of that period denied easy expression of feelings and emotions between men and women. To overcome this problem a subtle method of communication through flowers was created. Most of the blossoms commonly available in
For instance, sending an orange lily could have meant ‘I burn for you’. Even dreams in which lilies figure are given certain interpretations. Some of the significance attached to lilies (of different colors) includes purity, innocence, wealth, pride, majesty, virginity, chastity, wealth, virtue, sweetness gratitude, beauty, royalty, chivalry, friendship and devotion.
Today, of course, the meanings of flowers have changed from Victorian times. It would be interesting to discuss the subject with a knowledgeable florist.
Lilies have been associated with royalty in the West. The fleur-de-lis which in French means lily flower has been used in many coats of arms and flags in
Coming back to our lilies of the balcony, we neither know its specific name nor significance. There are many species in the lily (Liliaceae) family. But they were beautiful and we are waiting for more.
Reproduced below are some lily postage stamps of
Photos: Top two by me. Copyright reserved. Last four images from Wikimedia Commons.