Saturday, 12 April 2014

Embroidered Easter flowers

Four main flowers are associated with Easter, the daffodil in particular because it is one of the first to flower when spring comes around in the northern hemisphere, being closely linked with Easter at the same time of year.

From a Christian perspective, daffodils are said to offer hope of life after death – eternal life. And legend has it that daffodils were profuse around the time of Jesus’ resurrection.

Daffodils are the flowers of those born in March. In Germany, they’re known as Osterglocken or Easter bells. And folklore often associates these flowers with luck – bring just one into the house instead of a bunch and misfortune will befall your home, but take care not to trample a daffodil and you’ll be rewarded with good fortune.

A little yellow cup,
A little yellow frill,
A little yellow star,
And that's a daffodil.
     Author Unknown

Easter lilies are usually white as a sign of purity and goodness and some Christians believe the shape of the flower is a symbol of God calling his son home with a trumpet. It is also a flower closely associated with the Virgin Mary.

The Easter lily originated in Japan, native to the Ryukyu Islands, from where the bulbs were exported to the US. But when war broke out around 1941, the US began cultivating its own superior bulbs. Today, almost all of the potted Easter lily bulbs in the US are grown in a narrow region along the coast on the border of California and Oregon.

In Ireland, Irish republicans wear badges at Easter featuring Easter lilies in remembrance of those who lost their lives during and after the Easter Rising/Easter Rebellion of 1916 to gain independence from Great Britain.

There are more than 600 variations of passion flower, which originated in the rain forests of South America. Missionaries used the flower to explain the mysteries of the Christian faith to those living in the tropical Americas and so it became known as the “flower of the five wounds” in Spanish, the lower five anthers being a depiction of Jesus’ wounds. The three stamens represent his three nail wounds or the Holy Trinity. The circle of petals depicts the crown of thorns. And the leaves are indicative of the spear that went into Jesus’ side.

Tulips, which originated in Persia and Turkey, are synonymous with the Netherlands, where there are huge flower markets and cultivated Dutch varieties. They generally signify love, with different colours associated with various types of love, although purple tulips are symbols of royalty. Red is said to mean true love, yellow has evolved from representing hopeless love to a being modern-day symbol of cheerful thoughts and sunshine, and white tulips signify forgiveness.

To Christians, tulips are a symbol of the joy at Jesus’ resurrection. The regal shape is seen as representative of the love he gave the world and tulips also symbolise rebirth, blooming as they do in early spring and around Easter time in the northern hemisphere.

Pattern featured: Easter Flowers, available on Etsy, Craftsy or from my SA shop.

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