snowdrops flower meaning

Snowdrop Flower (Galanthus) Meaning and Symbolism

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The delicate snowdrop flower, despite its name, often serves as the first sign of spring. The snow 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 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 the 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. 

What Do Snowdrop Flowers Symbolize?

Snowdrop flowers hold deep meaning. 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 also show sympathy for somebody who is struggling. It can serve as a symbol of hope and innocence, too. The flower is typically found in a white color, so it makes sense that it would have this classic connotation. 

Traditionally, white has been seen as a symbol of innocence, purity, and rebirth. White can also be associated with spirituality, so it makes sense that this flower would have some spiritual undertones, too. 

What is the Cultural Significance of a Snowdrop?

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

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 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. 

In the Victorian era, the snowdrop flower was seen as bad luck when brought inside a home. It could also symbolize death. 

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, the snowdrop flower usually symbolizes 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. 

*Photo by nnattalli/depositphotos

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