Meaning of Gifting Flowers in Different Cultures

Gifting flowers is part of every culture in the world. However, you should be familiar with the cultural significance of each flower before sending it to your loved ones. It should be kept in mind that the color and other features of the bloom matters as much as its species.  Let us take a quick look at a few such examples.


Although the exact cultural meaning of flowers varies within each nation, there are a few facts that stay true in the majority of them. Red flowers, especially roses, have a strong romantic connotation and should be gifted to your partner only. Every major nation in the continent has national flowers that uphold its culture and heritage. A few notable examples are Tulips in the Netherlands, Clovers in Ireland, Iris in France, Lily in Italy, Carnation in Spain, and Rose in the UK.  Due to the high variance, it is always ideal to talk to your florist before selecting a gift.


In China, giving flowers is a traditional way of showing respect, appreciation, and affection for the other person. If you are invited to the house of a Chinese native, make sure to keep a well-wrapped bunch of flowers with you. But don’t pick white flowers or chrysanthemums for your jovial visits as these are reserved for moments of grief. You can use floral varieties like sunflowers or carnations for formal events and bamboos to congratulate someone and wish them financial prosperity.


The US is one of the biggest flower markets in the world and gifting flowers is a common custom. In the country, you should take into account which species and variety before sending flowers. For example, pink carnations symbolize eternal love. However, the yellow variants are a sign of rejection. On the other hand, orchid stands for magnificence and adoration. If you want flowers for a formal occasion, choosing white lilies- a symbol of purity and majesty- can never go wrong.


In India, flowers have cultural, religious, and ceremonious importance.  The national flower of the lotus is a recurring theme in mythological stories. Indian women adorn their hairs with flowers like Jasmine, especially on marriages and other special occasions. The nation also has the tradition where the bride and groom exchange garlands on the wedding day. In the southern state of Kerala, people decorate their houses with floral carpets to celebrate the Onam festival. The diversity and the importance of flowers are varied across the states.


The French culture is diverse and rich, and gifting flowers is an inherent part of it. In this land of wine lovers, red roses are strongly associated with romantic love. It is customary to include an odd number of flowers in a bouquet but never use 13 flowers as it is considered bad luck. The French also consider the red carnations as inauspicious so you should avoid gifting these flowers as well. And finally, keep in mind that chrysanthemums and Lilies are reserved for funerals only.

The world is plentiful with varieties of flowers. Every nation and every culture has a distinct meaning to each flower and has a proper occasion for gifting them. So, if you are planning to send flowers to someone, please make sure to consult with your florist about its significance and appropriateness.



Author is owner of a leading flower shop in Dubai with online order facility. He has 10 years experience of managing this service and writing on it. Information on products and services is given on occasional blog posts.

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