The fragile peony is a fixture in contemporary and classic bouquets. It’s easy to see why – this plant has a fragile, unassuming beauty that lets it steal the show without being overbearing.
However, did you know that the peony is actually entrenched in deeper symbolic meaning? This flower is shrouded in mythological allure and valued for its symbolic meaning along with its medicinal and ornamental uses.
What Does The Word ‘Peony’ Mean?
It is unclear exactly what the true etymology of “peony” is, but many people believe that the word is derived from the late Latin peonia, which is a form of the Greek paonia.
It is named after the physician of the gods and is a testament to the plant’s healing qualities, as the peony’s roots, seeds, and flowers were frequently used in medicine.
What Does the Peony Flower Symbolize?
The peony flower has a great deal of meanings. Not only can it symbolize prosperity, good fortune, and happiness, but it can also be used to encourage a happy marriage or to symbolize honor and compassion. It can even represent bashfulness!
There are even some superstitions surrounding peonies. The state flower of Indiana, the peony is often given for a twelfth wedding anniversary to symbolize honor, happiness, and fortune.
Some people believe that peony bushes that are loaded with flowers are good luck – but once those flowers fade or dry up, you need to brace yourself for disaster. An odd number of flowers is also considered bad luck.
What Does a Pink Peony Mean?
There are many peony flower types. Pink peonies are some of the most commonly given. They symbolize the beauty of marriage and are often used in floral bouquets at weddings. Pink peonies can also represent love at first sight.
What Does a White Peony Flower Symbolize?
While the symbolism attached to most peonies is overwhelmingly positive, that is sadly not the case with the white peony. If you give someone a white peony, it will symbolize shame, shyness, regret, or apology.
What is the Symbolism of a Peony Flower Tattoo?
Peonies are some of the most commonly chosen flowers when it comes to tattoos. The bright colors of peony have many layers and their meaning is complex.
People also commonly choose to ink their skin with colorless peony tattoos. A black and grey peony tattoo can easily symbolize a happy life or a satisfying marriage. It can also represent overall prosperity as well as compassion towards a person or a cause.
What is the Cultural Significance of Peonies?
There are several common myths about peony. One myth claims that the flower is named after the Greek physician of the gods, Paeon. Paeon, a student of Aesculapius (who is the god of medicine), used a peony root to heal Pluto.
His mentor Aesculapius became jealous of his skills and attempted to kill him. To thank Paeon for his work, Pluto turned him into a peony so that all people would praise and admire him. Therefore, to some people, the peony represents compassion.
In another tale, the peony is named after a nymph named Paeonia. Paeonia, a beautiful nymph, attracted the attention of Apollo (who began to flirt with her). Her delight turns quickly to embarrassment as she realizes that Aphrodite is watching, and soon after, Aphrodite turns the nymph into a bright-red peony. Holding true with this story, the peony can also symbolize bashfulness.
What do peonies represent in Chinese culture?
Native to China, peonies are valued greatly there and referred to as the “king of flowers” that symbolizes honor, riches and prosperity.
As a Chinese national flower until 1929, peonies have been popular since the Sui dynasty, during which time peonies were planted in droves at the Imperial Palace.
Chinese people believe peonies bring good luck and also consider it a symbol of friendship and feminine beauty.
In Japan, peonies symbolize wealth, honor, good fortune, masculinity, and bravery. In Europe, these flowers are widely cultivated for fragrances.
When Should You Give Someone a Peony Flower?
The best time to give someone a peony is when you want to congratulate someone who has been successful in some aspect of their lives.
For example, you could give a peony to a couple that is getting married or someone who is graduating from high school. The flower, when given in colors like red, can also serve as a symbol of love. It is frequently given on wedding anniversaries as a result.
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