You probably already know that flowers were used to send coded messages during the Victorian times, and may even know some of those meanings. What you may not know is that the Japanese also use flowers to express their feelings, but many of the meanings differ from Victorian and western symbolism. The ancient art of Hanakotoba has been practiced for centuries and to a lesser extent continues today.
What is Hanakotoba?
Hanakotoba refers to the ancient art of assigning meanings to flowers. In the Japanese culture, presenting flowers to another is not limited to women, and is not done lightly. The underlying meaning of the flower determines the message sent to the recipient. This allows one to communicate feelings and emotions without words.
Expressions of Love
Showing your love and appreciation for others with flowers is one of the most common reason flowers are sent today. According to the Japanese culture, you can distinguish between types of love with the specific flowers you choose.
- Rose: Like Victorian and western interpretations, the red rose represents romantic love in the Japanese culture, but it is not the only flower that represents love.
- Red Japanese Lotus: The red lotus represents love, passion and compassion.
- Forget-Me-Not: Delicate blue forget-me-nots represent true love.
- Red Camelia: The red camelia represents being in love.
- Gardenia: Gardenias symbolize a crush or secret love.
- Tulip: The tulip represents one-sided or unrequited love.
- Carnation: The carnation represents passion.
- Cactus: A cactus flower symbolizes lust.