The Marigold Flower: Its Meanings & Symbolism
Not all flowers used as a symbol feature showy blossoms or stately vegetation. Sometimes the biggest message comes from the smallest and most common garden flower. It is definitely the case with marigolds, which mean a lot more than you might think from the first impression these flowers make. Explore what the marigold symbolizes to find out how this cheerful flower can fit into your life.
What Does the Marigold Flower Mean?
Aside from being an important part of any organic garden as a pest deterrent, the Marigold has loftier meanings like:
- Despair and grief over the loss of love
- The beauty and warmth of the rising sun
- Winning the affections of someone through hard work
- Creativity and the drive to succeed
- Desire for wealth
- Cruelty and coldness due to jealousy
- Sacred offerings to the Gods
- Remembering and celebrating the dead
- Promoting cheer and good relations in a relationship
While the Marigold has picked up a few negative connotations over the years, most of what it means remains positive in contemporary times.
Etymological Meaning of the Marigold Flower
The plants commonly known as Marigolds fall into two major categories based on their scientific name. The first group includes members from the Calendula family, which is a Latin name meaning “little clock”. The other Marigolds are from the Tagetes family instead, a name that comes from a religious prophet named Tages that influenced Etruscan culture. The common name Marigold comes from the plant’s use as an offering to the Virgin Mary in the place of gold coins.
Symbolism of the Marigold Flower
Aside from being offered as a sacrifice to gods from Christian, Aztec, Buddhist, Hindu, and Pagan religions, this little flower has strong ties to the sun and its power to resurrect. All types of Marigold offer the same basic meanings because they all share the same bright yellow, red, or orange color. Victorian flower language experts considered it a symbol of despair and grief, which is shared with the Mexican cultural conception linking it to the remembrance of the dead during Dia de Muertos. The Victorians also linked it with cruel treatment towards a loved one. Modern meanings focus on the sunny color and beauty instead, giving the flower a meaning of optimism and success instead. Marigolds were carried as love charms or spells in the Middle Ages by both genders who wanted to attract someone new.
Marigold Flower Color Meanings
All Marigolds sport some variation of red or yellow petals. These warm colors suffuse the flowers with extra layers of color meaning, especially when they are mixed with similar brightly colored blooms in a bouquet. People tend to choose these colors when they are feeling low or down and need a quick pick me up. Some cultures also see red as representative of prosperity and a long life.
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Marigold Flower
Different Marigold varieties are surprisingly useful aside from being a symbol of joy. Many Tagetes varieties offer a tarragon or mint like taste to their leaves, while Calendula flowers are used as both salad ingredients and tea additives. Some people cook the flowers down in a fat based salve to treat skin irritation. The plant’s odor and root hormones scare away many animals and insects from the garden, as well as killing nematodes in the soil.
Special Occasions for the Marigold Flowers
Grab a pot or vase of Marigolds for:
- Summer birthdays
- Memorials for lost loved ones
- Religious ceremonies
- Expressing your jealousy when trapped in a love triangle
- Encouraging someone else to reach their potential
The Marigold Flower’s Message Is…
Even the humblest creations contain their own special beauty to share with the world. Just like the sun returns in full each summer and hides away in the winter, you must find your own balance between shining and keeping your light under wraps.