The Language of Flowers is Still Alive and Well
A would-be burglar in England sent his 91 year-old victim a bouquet of flowers, with a card and an apology, in an uncommon show of compassion. He was sorry he had scared the old woman, but he thought the house was vacant. He scarpered from the property without taking anything. Police are asking him to give himself up. What will they High Yields charge him with? Sending flowers to a would-be victim, or just for scaring the living daylights out of a 91 year-old woman?
The language of flowers is not a new art, however. Floriography is commonly thought to come originally from the Victorian age, when flowers were used to send secret messages. However flower language began in medieval and Renaissance culture. Saints drawn in paintings are shown with flowers that symbolized the saint’s virtues.
Some of the most common terms used in flower language are: daisies for innocence and blue violets for faithfulness, red roses for love, pansies for thoughtfulness, carnations for admiration, white lilies for purity, pink roses for a lesser affection, white roses for eternal love to name just a few.
There is a modern flower language, however, that has left its mark firmly entrenched on our society.
Flower Power had its most powerful uprising in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in the sub-cultural revolution of the Hippies. These Flower Children were the emblem of non-violent philosophy and ideology, firmly standing against the use of war to solve international problems. In particular they objected to the senseless and hopeless war in Vietnam, plus the threat of nuclear war between the superpowers, USSR and USA. The hippies were determined their scream for social change be heard.
The Hippy teens and early twenty year-olds became famous for giving flowers to policemen and bystanders and placing flowers in the barrels of guns and revolvers as a sign of peace not war. For the most they were pacifists and participated in peaceful political demonstrations. Regarding the political activity of the Flower People, it was reported “They mostly prefer to be stoned, but most of them want peace and they want an end to war of any kind”.
A Washington Post photograph captured a clean cut looking teenager, dressed in a turtle neck pullover, placing flowers in the barrels of the policemen’s guns. It became a symbol of the era, alongside the brightly painted VW buses commonly used by the Flower Children.
They became known as the ‘love generation’ and embraced the sexual revolution of free love. They were also known for their liberal use of soft drugs, such as cannabis, in an effort to discover alternative states of consciousness. Their buses became the predecessors of the modern-day art cars. Many Hippies liked to hitch-hike around the world. This was their means of meeting new people and it was also economical.
‘Give Peace A Chance’, was their theme. They adhered to religious as well as cultural diversity, embracing Eastern spiritual ideas and philosophies, while widely rejecting established institutions, both through their actions and their chosen form of dress.