The Carnation is January's Birth Flower


Carnation

Everyone knows that they have a specific birthstone that is placed in jewelry and trinkets to signify the month they were born in. However, many people don't know that just like the stones, each month has a flower or two as well, which symbolizes birth. Here is the history and meaning behind your birth flower.

January: Carnation
Alternate: Snowdrop

The Carnation, whose botanic name is Dianthus caryophyllus, is really a plant that originated in the Near East at least 2000 years ago. It was originally only found in the popular light pink color, however today it has been cultivated into many other colors including red, purple, green and yellow.

Carnation Etymology

Scholars can not agree on WHERE the name came from. Some believe that it came from the Latin word "carnis" which means flesh and refers to the original color of the flower. Religious scholars believe that it comes from the word "incarnation" referring to the incarnation of God made flesh. Still others believe that "carnation" was derived from the word "coronation" and that it was used in early Greek ceremonial crowns.

Because of their low cost, carnations are the flower given most often in a boutonniere or in a corsage for a teenager's high school prom, homecoming or other dance. They are also given to mothers on Mother's Day, and at their children's weddings. Again because of the low cost, they are used in wedding bouquets and as table decorations at parties. This allows for the host to have big assortments without breaking their budget.

Carnation Symbolism

The Carnation symbolizes different things in different countries. In Rome it was known as "Jove's Flower", after a beloved Roman God. In Korea, young girls put carnations in their hair, believing the order of the death of the carnations determines the difficulty level and order that they will face in their life. In Portugal it is a symbol of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution that occurred in April of 1974.

Meaning of Carnation

Each color of a Carnation has a different meaning. Light red symbolizes admiration, while dark red symbolizes a deep love. White symbolizes both pure love and luck. Striped Carnations symbolize regret. Purple Carnations are said to indicate capriciousness. Green Carnations are used predominantly on St. Patrick's Day. Pink Carnations are said to be a symbol of a mother's undying love, going back to biblical times when Carnations sprang up out of the ground where the Virgin Mary's tears fell as Jesus was carrying the cross.

Ohio's State Flower

The scarlet Carnation is the state flower of Ohio, chosen to honor assassinated president William McKinley, who was normally seen wearing it.

Fun and Interesting Facts about Carnations

At Oxford University, it is customary to wear a Carnation to an exam. White Carnations are worn to the first exam, red to the last, and pink Carnations to every exam in between.


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