Easter is a celebration of rebirth. Take a look around and you'll start to see the signs in the first months of spring between March and April when flowers begin to bloom and animals give birth to their young. After the long winter, the canvas of vivid colors and pastels—and yes, that fresh fragrance of blooming trees—contribute to the idea of waking up in a new world filled with promise.
Historians once believed that Easter had connections to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility Eostre, but newly discovered facts tell a different story. The word "Easter" has been traced back to the Latin phrase for a Christian celebration called "in albis" (meaning "dawn") that later became the Old High German word "eostarum," according to Britannica. The holiday celebrates Easter Sunday as the day of Jesus Christ's resurrection, which is written in the New Testament of the bible. For Christians around the world, this symbolizes redemption for humankind, forgiveness for past wrongdoing, and an opportunity to live a better life. Over the years, spring flowers—those that bloom between March and April—have taken on a special meaning for the holiday. Colors like red, white, and purple symbolize of different aspects of the Easter story while the flower's shape indicates other meanings. As beautiful as these flowers are in nature, nothing compares to how they can be used at home in tabletop centerpieces, baskets, and outdoor decorations.
Easter Lily and Lily of the Valley
White flowers like the Easter lily often symbolize purity and innocence. For Christians, this purity and innocence is associated with Christ. Lilies also have religious significance from being mentioned in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. Lilies of the valley were mentioned by King Solomon several times and referenced by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. The lily of the valley symbolizes the Advent of Christ and the purity of the Virgin Mary, according to "Signs & Symbols in Christian Art" from Oxford University Press.
Discovered by a Swedish naturalist named Carl Peter Thunberg in 1777, modern-day lilies originate from the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. English and Bermuda horticulturists began growing their own crops of the lilies. But it wasn't until the flowers made it to flower shops in Philadelphia that the lilies began to be called Easter lilies.
Tulips are the ultimate spring flower. Beautiful and vibrant, these flowers come in an array of different colors. According to ProFlowers, white tulips are associated with forgiveness, a common theme for Easter. The purple tulip represents royalty, so a bouquet with white and purple tulips would celebrate the royalty of Jesus Christ as the son of God.
The tulip has its origins in Turkey but became associated with Holland after being cultivated by the Dutch. A little-known and interesting fact about tulips is that their bulbs became so prized that they were used as currency for a time, until the tulip market crashed. But, as author and historian Anne Goldgar cautions, there never really was a "tulip fever." Tulips remain popular to this day because of their beauty and versatility. You can find a tulip to express your feelings or decorate a room with relative ease thanks to the many varieties. For Easter, an arrangement of tulips is always a lovely choice.
Irises symbolize the Passion of Christ and resurrection, as told in historical manuscripts at The Getty. Irises come in different colors, each with their own symbolism. According to the Journal of Experimental Botany, "iris" is a Greek word that means "rainbow" (because of its many available colors). The flowers have sword-like petals, which may explain why the flowers are sometimes referred to as "sword lilies," according to "Signs & Symbols in Christian Art." The upright petals of the iris are said to symbolize the three virtues: faith, valor, and wisdom.
When arranging irises for display, choose one type and one color per container for the prettiest effect. An old-fashioned celery glass makes a nice vase for these flowers.
Baby's breath symbolizes innocence and purity. On Easter, this refers to the purity of Christ. They mostly come in white, though pink baby's breath is sometimes found. These delicate, tiny flowers are often used as filler in bouquets and make for gorgeous arrangements.
Daisies and Dandelions
If any flower is iconic of spring, the daisy is a given. White daisies symbolize hope, serenity, and purity, according to Eastern Floral. The dandelion also have some religious symbolism for Easter. According to "Symbols of the Christian Faith" by Alva William Steffler, it was featured in Flemish and German paintings of the Crucifixion and thus came to represent the Passion of Christ.