snowdrops flower meaning

Snowdrop Flower (Galanthus) Meaning and Symbolism

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The delicate tiny snowdrop flower, despite its name, often serves as the first flower sign of spring with its sweet fragrance. The snow beneath has finally begun to recede! A foreteller of warm weather on the way, this beautiful flower is often grown in backyard gardens for its frail, everlasting beauty.

However, the gentle snowdrop flower has much more to offer than what initially meets the eye.

Here’s what you need to know. 

What Does Snowdrop Mean?

The scientific name for this delicate snowdrop flower is Galanthus nivalis. Galanthus translates to the Greek word for “milk,” while nivalis means “snow-like.” Given the snowy (and also milky!) the appearance of the plant, that translation makes a lot of sense. Snowdrop bulbs often start to sprout when there is still snow on the ground.

What Do Snowdrop Flowers Symbolize?

Snowdrop flower meaning goes much deeper than you would think. Usually, as a spring flower, it is seen as a symbol of rebirth and the ability to overcome challenges in life. It can serve as a delicate reminder that we can all do great things in life – if only we set our minds to it. There is nothing that can make you fail if you have the drive to succeed!

However this flower can symbolize sympathy for somebody who is struggling. It can symbolize hope and innocence, too. The flower is typically found in as a milk-white flower color with a tiny bit of green mixed in, so it makes sense that it would have this classic connotation for the symbol of hope. It’s also sometimes refered to as the milk flower.

Traditionally, white snowdrop has been seen as a symbol of innocence, purity, and rebirth. White flowers can also be associated with spirituality, so it makes sense that this flower would have some spiritual undertones, too. Many see it as a flower dedicated to the virgin mary.

What is the Cultural Significance of a Snowdrop?

There are some interesting cultural legends behind the symbolism of the snowdrop blooms.

According to the classic story of the Garden of Eden, the snowdrop flower was connected to Eve as she shed tears when God banished her from the Garden of Eden. To comfort her in her despair, an angel picked up a snowflake, throwing it up on the Earth to cheer Eve up. As the snowflake shattered, it became a symbol of new beginnings -and of hope.

A German legend, however, maintains that God created snow to gather colors of flowers each year. However, some beautiful flowers refused to give up their colors. When snow arrived to the snowdrop flower, it made an offer.

The snowdrop flower would be granted the privilege of flowering first every year to announce the arrival of spring – however, it had to give up its color in exchange for this privilege. Today it is known as the first spring flower that blooms in very early spring when most plants are dormant.

In the Victorian era, snowdrop flowers was seen as bad luck when brought inside a home. It could also symbolize death. This was often referred to as snowdrops bad luck when things go wrong.

Legend also has it that the snowdrop flowers were born out of a battle between the winter witch and Lady Spring. Lady spring pricked her finger and her blood drop gave rise to snowdrop flowers. As a result, they became the first flowers of all the flowers to bloom in early spring. Flowers from this plant often brighten up the dull colors of cold winter months with its white blooms. No wonder they are known for representing a bright future.

Today, in the United States, the snowdrop flower is a birth flower for January. It is viewed similarly as the carnation flower, too. 

What is the Symbolism of a Snowdrop Tattoo?

When chosen as a tattoo, snowdrop flowers usually symbolize rebirth and the overcoming of some kind of obstacle. It can also serve as a reminder of change and a willingness to grow. 

When Should You Give Someone a Snowdrop?

The snowdrop flower is a beautiful bloom with deep symbolic meaning. Therefore, there are many occasions in which it is appropriate to give somebody one of these flowers.

It has positive connotations and can be given to anybody who is trying to move forward from the sadness and negativity in their lives. It can also be given to anybody born in January, as it is the birth flower for that month. 

Up Next: How to Grow and Care for Snowdrops

*Photo by nnattalli/depositphotos

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