Autumn is a season of joyfulness, prosperity, and kinship. And no other flower symbolized those traits better than the chrysanthemum. Learn why this blossoming beauty is known as the Flower of Fall. ___________________________________________________________________________
Chrysanthemums are known as a beautiful and bolstering symbol of the fall season. With their deep reds & purples and bright yellows & oranges, these flowers are a staple in autumnal decor.
But the early iterations of this gorgeous beautiful bloom looked a bit different from the flower we know today. Mums have held significant cultural symbolism for thousands of years.
A Chinese Symbol of Tranquility and Integrity
It is believed that chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China in 15th century BC. These small, yellow mums were closer in appearance to what we now know as a daisy. At the time, mums were used as flowering herbs in both food and medicine – most commonly as a calming herbal tea.
Today, chrysanthemums remain significant in Chinese culture, symbolizing a life of ease and longevity, along with nobility and integrity. The mum is also one of the “Four Junzi Flowers” often represented in East Asian art alongside plum blossoms, orchids, and bamboo.
According to the University of Manchester Confucius Institute, “The chrysanthemum is beautiful and colourful, while it often blooms in autumn when other flowers are fading away, which symbolizes the virtue to withstand all adversities. It is tranquil and harmonious with others, but also dignified and indomitable.”
A Japanese Symbol of Royalty and Nobility
Chrysanthemums arrived in Japan in the 8th century AD and quickly became an important symbol in Japanese culture. The Emperor was so taken with the flower that he made it his official seal, a tradition that still continues. To this day, the chrysanthemum serves as the Imperial Seal of Japan for members of the royal family.
The flower is also the symbol of the highest level of decoration for an individual’s service to the nation. The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is awarded by the emperor and signifies great nobility and goodwill.
In Japan, the country celebrates National Chrysanthemum Day (also known as the “Festival of Happiness”) as one of their five ancient sacred festivals. The mum represents autumn and harvest, and is also recognized as a symbol of longevity and rejuvenation.
A Western Symbol of Optimism and Wellbeing
Chrysanthemums eventually found their way to Europe in the 17th century (and America in the 18th century) where they became symbols of friendship, optimism, wellbeing, and abundance – similar to the Asian cultures’ ideas of joy and vitality.
Chrysanthemums are also the birth flower for the month of November. People born in the eleventh month are known to be cheerful and friendly… and the mum represents the “many layers” of their souls.
Mums are common fall season plants because they bloom later in the year and tend to last longer than many of their floral counterparts. They’ve also evolved to feature rich autumn colors like gold, red, and purple – making them a popular addition to seasonal landscaping and floral arrangements.
If you’d like to add these magnificent flowers to your garden, come check out our greenhouse! And remember… “Mums the Word!”
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