Symbolism of the Carnation Flower
Ancient Roman Legend: According to legend, the carnation flower appeared after the Crucifixion of Christ. When mother Mary wept at the death of her son, her tears fell to the earth. Carnations sprang forth from each spot where Mary’s tears stained the earth. This legend lends credence to the theory that the carnation earned its name from incarnation.
Korean Culture: The Koreans use the carnation to foretell the fortune of young girls. Upon placing three freshly cut carnations in her hair, the young girl is charged with observing which of the three will die first. If the top flower dies off first, it indicates that the latter years of the girl’s life will be filled with strife. If the middle flower fades first, it indicates she will experience turmoil during her youth. If the lower flower dies and fades first, it indicates that the young woman will face great challenges throughout her lifetime.
Chinese Culture: The carnation is used in weddings in China. In fact, it is the most common flower used in Chinese wedding ceremonies.
Japanese Culture: In Japan, the red carnation symbolizes love and is the most common flower for Mother’s Day.
Victorian: During Victorian times, flowers often sent a secret, coded message to a suitor or secret admirer. Sometimes, they also answered a secret question. A solid colored carnation meant the answer was “yes”. A striped carnation signified “I’m sorry, but I can’t be with you.” A yellow carnation symbolized “No”.
United States: Carnations are the official flowers for Mother’s Day. They are also worn in corsages and boutonnieres for prom and other special events. The green carnation is typically worn on St. Patrick’s Day. It is also the birth flower for January.