May Mums: Of Spring Flowers And Mothers

What says spring and the merry month of May more than flowers? The lure of the blooming world is enough to make you abandon your computer and your latest work in progress, if only for a while, and take a walk amid the floral frenzy, enjoying the beauty of the season — unless—

Unless you’re allergic, of course. In which case, after you blow your nose, consider what flowers mean to you ’ and to society in general. The language of flowers – known as floriography – is a surprisingly complex one. It also has a rich history throughout the world, with religious and symbolic meaning that has lasted through the centuries and the rise and fall of civilizations. Flowers aren’t just pretty; they’ve also been known for their healing powers. So they’re pretty – they have meaning – and they can heal. Think of how useful all this could be for your writing. Think of the subtle interplay between your hero and your heroine, using your newly earned knowledge of floriography. Could your hero choose just the right flower to express his feelings? Check this out for what else flowers can offer you:

What else does the month of May say to you? Yes, that’s right, it’s sending flowers to your mother. Or having flowers sent to you, for that matter. Celebrating Mater dear has a history as long as flowers (but giving them to her is probably another story involving ungrateful children forgetting, and having to get back into her good graces). One source has the earliest celebrations for moms back to ancient Greece, in honor of Rhea, the mother of the Titans, the earliest Greek gods. The English offered thanks to their maternal units as far back as the 1600s, calling the observance “Mothering Sunday.” In the United States, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, is credited as having first suggested the celebration of Mom in 1872, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that Mother’s Day was proclaimed a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson. Here’s an interesting tidbit of history, for those historical writers out there who may want to work the holiday into their work in progress:

And finally, for all those who have written poems to Mom, “the world’s most noble profession”:


Copyright Eilis Flynn 2006