Thursday, July 17, 2008


As you were promised, here are some of the flower associations that make certain varieties particularly pertinent for various Church celebrations. I wish proper credit could be given for the source of this information but it comes to you through an old Photostat that was given to me by a housekeeper at a parish where she also did the decorations. So the connection has been lost.

Some of these flowers could be used as actual decorations at the celebrations. Others, for practical reasons, might only be able to be used in art. For example, symbols of the Holy Trinity are a perfect fit with baptism. One of the plants most associated with the Holy Trinity (thank you Saint Patrick) is the three leafed clover. It would be difficult to decorate with this plant as anyone from any distance would not even know what it was. And it would be hard to make it look good. But it might be included in some art associated with baptism.

Olive oil is used in the baptismal rite and therefore olive branches are appropriate. They also recall the story of Noah to which reference is made in the blessing of the water. Since the 15th century the Daisy, associated with Christ’s innocence, has come to symbolize restored innocence and so is used particularly in infant baptisms.

Olive branches also work for confirmation as olive oil is used in the rite. Columbine symbolizes the Holy Spirit and is appropriate for any celebration that particularly concerns the Holy Spirit. (Columba is Latin for spirit.) Terebinth is also used in Chrism (it adds scent) and can also be used.

Red is the color of the Holy Spirit and is of course most appropriate in arrangements. Red roses or carnations should alert people to the type of celebration taking place. This also states well why we should be careful not just to put “pretty” things on the altar. If we put red on the altar let us mean to put red on the altar for a reason!

The carnation, actually is probably a little more appropriate as it is the symbol of pure love. (Not that the flower industry would agree – but that will come later.)

To be continued.


Anonymous said...

Father, thank you for sharing the plant symbolism! I just love it! One time I came across an old Victorian book at a flea market that was a kind of dictionary of the symbolism and "language" associated with all kinds of plants. I still regret not buying it for myself. I love plants... unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I have horrible luck keeping them alive. :(

Anonymous said...

Figurative Friday?
Metaphoric Friday?
There's got to be something clever to rename Friday.

Anonymous said...

Totally off-topic: a meme. Just in case you have absolutely nothing better or more important to do (LOL!).

Anonymous said...

TPC - I passed on the book once and regretted it and then came across this one again quite by accident and am glad I didn't let it slip a second time - though I remember the first one as being even better of course. Thanks for the meme.

Spark - You're right - needs a better name.

Anonymous said...

Defining Fridays?

Sure love the aroma of Chrism, but think they use balsam now, maybe they are allowed to add other things.