Queen of Hearts
Issue Date: May 8, 2009
City: Washington, DC
Flowers have been given special meanings since ancient times. For centuries, refined lovers as well as tongue-tied suitors have used flowers to communicate their love.
The ancient Persians were among the first to give meaning to flowers. According to legend, a young man named Farhad fell in love with a maiden. After learning his beloved had been killed, he galloped his horse over a cliff, where Farhad tragically died. Red tulips sprang from drops of his blood, symbolizing his perfect love. For the Persians, a gift of a red tulip said, “My love for you is passionate.”
Ancient Romans believed white roses grew from the tears of Venus, the goddess of love. One day, Cupid, the god of love, was shooting arrows at bees in a rose garden. The arrows became thorns as they fell to the ground. Pricking her foot on the thorns, Venus’ blood turned the white roses red, creating the first crimson rose. Today, red roses signify, “My love for you is true.”
According to medieval legend, a knight fell into a river as he was picking flowers for his lady. As he was drowning, he threw the flowers to his lady love and shouted, “Forget me not.” Today, a bouquet of forget-me-not flowers conveys the message, “Do not forget me, my love.”