By- Claudia Quesito
Few things are as universal as flowers. Their magical beauty, joyful colors, and intoxicating perfumes have inspired countless quotes and sent messages all over the world throughout history. Many flowers are traditionally associated with specific feelings, wishes, or messages. However, these meanings change from culture to culture, and it might be good to consider them before sending someone a bunch of flowers.
First of all, in Italy, it’s always a good idea to pick an odd number of flowers, as an even number would bring bad luck—but remember, never go for 13, as 13 brings back luck in any context.
Coming to specific flowers, the trickiest one is probably the chrysanthemum. While it is deemed positive and joyful in the US, in several European countries—including Italy —the chrysanthemum symbolizes death and is therefore used for funerals and on graves only. The origin of this symbolic meaning is, in fact, not that symbolic and rather has to do with seasonality; the chrysanthemum blooms in November, at the same time of the Commemorazione dei defunti, which falls on November 2 and is a day meant to celebrate your loved ones who have passed away.
Colors are also to be considered, although their symbolic meaning is not that strict and sometimes mixes with other traditions. While orange represents joy and is always a safe choice for birthdays, anniversaries, or special accomplishments, purple is associated with modesty and generosity, but is not a conventionally joyful color, so it might confuse the recipient.
A very meaningful flower in Italy is mimosa, which is traditionally gifted to women on March 8, the Giornata Internazionale della Donna. The mimosa symbolizes strength and femininity as well as freedom and thoughtfulness.
Do not worry though, roses, and their different colors have pretty much the same meaning in Italy and the US, so there’s no need to check il linguaggio dei fiori. Reserve rose rosse for your romantic love, and give a bunch of rose rosa to your best friend, female or male. And, if you receive rose gialle, you might need to hold the thank-you note. Maybe the sender just loves the color, but yellow represents jealousy and betrayal.