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The Lily of the Valley is a beautiful woodland flower that has bell-shaped white flowers, which usually bloom during the springtime. The flower is sweetly scented, and it is native to Northern Asia and Europe. However, it has also become largely prevalent within North America, where there is now an American native variant.
As with any plant or flower, the Lily of the Valley is full of symbolism and meanings, and if you know them properly, the flower can be used to send specific messages to loved ones or to be used creatively in certain settings.
Let’s find out more!
General Symbolism of the Lily of the Valley Flower
The scientific name of the Lily of the Valley flower, Convallaria Majalis, translates to “that which belongs in may”. As such, the flower is often the symbol of this month, and will often become a lot more popular during May of every year.
The delicate appearance of the flower, as well as the white color, caused this flower to be very closely associated with the delicate feminine, as well as traditional female values. Throughout history, the Lily of the Valley has symbolized purity, chastity, motherhood, and sweetness, amongst other things.
It is why this flower will often be used to depict purity and motherhood, hand in hand, and why they are usually laid at the altar to represent Mary the mother of God, in Christian churches.
The flower is also a huge symbol for rebirth, or for the beginning of a new cycle. Many people will use them in weddings, in order to represent the new beginning and the rebirth of the individual into the marriage.
In fact, many royal figures have used these flowers quite publicly, such as Queen Victoria of England herself!
What does it mean when you give someone a Lily of the Valley flower?
If you’re wondering when it is appropriate to give someone Lily of the Valley flowers, you first need to understand what it means when you give these flowers to another person, as it comes with a meaning.
The main use of Lily of the Valley flowers is during religious ceremonies, so as to represent chastity and purity, so it is very often used as offerings at an altar. If you need to give flowers to someone in the church, these are a perfect choice.
They are also perfect for weddings. Gifting a Lily of the Valley symbolizes rebirth, and usually the beginning of happiness, so it is perfect for newlyweds.
As the flower also symbolizes motherhood, it is a very popular choice of flower to give to mothers on mother’s day. Plus, these flowers can also be gifted at birthdays, in order to represent the beginning of a new chapter in life.
Luckily, the Lily of the Valley flowers are very versatile, and there’s rarely a wrong moment or occasion in which to give them. So if in doubt, they’re a pretty safe choice of flower, and as life is all about new beginnings and chapters, you are bound to make them fit into any context.
Cultural Significance of the Lily of the Valley Flower
Apart from their general symbolism, flowers can also have a lot of significance within different cultures and mythologies, and it’s worth knowing the most significant ones.
According to Greek mythology, the Lily of the Valley was created by Apollo, God of the Sun and of the arts. The stories tell of how he created this particular flower in order to create a soft and scented carpet over the grounds of Montparnasse so that his nine nymphs could walk upon it.
In Germanic mythology, the flower is a representation of the purity of Ostara, the goddess of spring and dawn, which makes a lot of sense as the flower blooms during this season.
In Christian mythology, the flower has a few different meanings. One of them is that the flower symbolizes the tears of Eve, as she was banished from the garden of Eden.
The flower is also a symbol of humility and to many a sign of the second coming of Christ on Earth. And there is even a tale on how the flower sprung from the drops of bloodshed by a dragon, which was slain by Saint Leonard.
In many cultures, the Lily of the Valley is known to be a symbol of good luck, and many people believed that it would keep away evil spirits and wrongdoings from your home if you planted enough of them in your garden.
This is why the flower has also become known as a symbol of happiness and good fortune, along with it being a symbol of protection.
So all in all, the cultural significance circles back to the symbolism of rebirth, purity, and chastity.