Few things on this planet are more beautiful than flowers. Their bright, delicate petals and enticing scent bring life to what would otherwise be a plain and dreary Earth. Ralph Waldo Emerson, leader of the transcendentalist movement, once claimed, “The earth laughs in flowers.” From the simple daisy to the vibrant wildflowers that dot the hillsides, flowers have more than earned their dedicated day of observance for their influence in nature, life, and culture. As we enter Spring, remember that March 12th is National Plant A Flower Day: a celebration of flowers and the changing of seasons!
While the origin behind National Plant A Flower Day is relatively unknown, it’s no mystery that flowers have been around since the dawn of time. As early as 2,500 BC, flowers became a staple in households as the Ancient Egyptians used them for ornamentations and for offering reverence to both the living and the dead, with the remnants of various flowers discovered in the tombs of pharaohs, high priests, and other noble citizens.
Following suit, the Ancient Greeks and Romans continued to use flowers for these same reasons but soon began to incorporate them into their health by using them as herbs. Today, this tradition carries on through medicines, spices, herbal teas, and oils.
Flowers have long been used for their diverse healing qualities to treat anything from external to internal infections, mental and emotional hardships, and every physical illness. Take, for example, chamomile, which helps relieve anxiety and stress. Most importantly, however, is the role that flowers play in the natural world. Their brilliant colors and sweet scents attract pollinators, such as butterflies, birds, and bees. Once the pollen has been distributed, flowers reproduce delicious fruit that both animals and humans can enjoy. Flowers also provide other environmental benefits, such as removing pollutants from the air and providing oxygen during photosynthesis.
Throughout history, flowers have carried different meanings as interpreted by a culture, a religion, or a nation. For instance, in Hinduism, the lotus flower is a significant spiritual symbol, while red roses signify love and affection, and poppies are used in memory of fallen soldiers. Flowers also play an essential part in our rituals and traditions. Imagine a wedding without beautiful arrangements of flowers that decorate the aisle or a Christmas without poinsettias? On a more general scale, flowers are divided into flowers of love, friendship, admiration, joy, and even gratitude, among others: red roses and red tulips signify love, yellow roses friendship, and pink or peach roses gratitude.
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