Lilies have been an integral part of auspicious celebrations across cultures for thousands of years. An embodiment of purity and love, lilies have consistently been an unrelenting preference for weddings and funerals.
This flower is ingrained in western culture and mythology. The origin story of lilies dates back to ancient Greek civilization. When the droplets of Hera’s (queen of gods) milk fell on the surface of the earth, lilies bloomed. One astonishing fact about lilies is, they are found everywhere on earth in various shapes, colours, and sizes. From white lilies to orange and purple, the diversity is spell-bounding from Asiatic lilies to Tiger lilies.
Each variety of Lily has a particular association with it. For example, white lilies are considered the qualities of purity and virtue. They get equated with the Virgin Mary in Christianity.
White lilies are also called Madonna lilies for the same reason. Surprisingly, they are among the very few flowers which would signify love, purity, gratitude, and loss at the same time.
The Victorians attributed different emotions to different flowers so that it gets easier to express for them. This was called floriography. To express grief with the least words possible, they turned to white lilies. White stands for serenity and peace. Also, the shedding of a flower symbolizes the shedding of life in general. Thus in all over the UK, white lilies are found on graves.
In Chinese culture, lilies are an essential part of their weddings as it assures hundred years of love to the new pair. The women of Greek and Roman civilization wore lilies on their hair on their wedding day for fruitfulness and an extension of their femininity. The different shapes and sizes of lilies and the mesmerizing scent of this flower bear a feminine angle. Romans would fill their pillows and quilts with this flower due to its fragrance. Thus the association with lovemaking originates.
As per the myth mentioned earlier, the ancient culture associated lilies with motherhood and birth, whereas Babylonians linked this flower with their goddess of fertility Ishtar. The yellow lily represents thankfulness and desire and the red one, deep love. The pink lily expresses abundance and prosperity.
This flower’s medicinal properties have been widely used as a cure for cold, fever, skin issues, the pain of child labour, and to maintain a healthy heart. Herbalists in the old times used this flower as a cure for gout. The people of china use bulbs and roots of the lily flowers.
Boiling these parts in water and consuming it, according to them, is beneficial for stomach problems. Lily of the Valley is well known for its effects on the human heart. It works wonders in preventing blood pressure and strengthening the vascular muscles.
The lilies’ roots are often beaten up and made into a paste, which then gets applies on burnt skin. The Tiger Lilies are famous for their effectiveness in treating sore throats and coughs.
The cute little hummingbirds extract nectar from this variety called Wood Lilies. Wood lily is a type of lily found in Canada and the northern part of the United States. Native Americans have used this variety of lily in their diet since the beginning. They would roast, boil or use it as a thickening agent in soups. The roots and the bulbs are a traditional delicacy in Southeast Asian countries like Taiwan, South Korea, China, etc.
Other than eating, Southeast Asian people love surrounding themselves with these beautiful flowers at their home.
Lilies have two unique titles allotted to them, “The 30th Anniversary Flower” or “May Birth Flower.” Sending lilies to someone who is celebrating their 30th anniversary or their birthday in May would make them smile instantly.
There are flowers called water lilies, daylilies, or arum lilies which don’t belong to the lily family but are still called lilies. Lilies are the first choice for the presentation at weddings, birthdays, or any success party. The colours and fragrance of lilies ought to amplify the vibe of the ceremony.