By Ishrat HyattJanuary 11, 2017Print : Lahore
The dictionary describes a flower as a bloom or blossom -- the reproductive structure found in plants that are floral. The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, which is fine but we see them as beautiful creations they are a part of the most important occasions in our lives. They are conspicuously present on birthdays, funerals, graduation, weddings, etc. and give us joy as well as other feelings like a sense of being loved and appreciated -- or they can be a great self gift to cheer yourself up when you are down in the dumps. As Luther Burbank - an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science said, “Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul!”
Using flowers for expressing sentiments is part of every culture and they have been given names as well as meanings.
In Victorian times, certain flowers had specific meanings as the selection was limited and people used more symbols and gestures to communicate because of societal constraints. For instance, red roses symbolize love but roses come in a variety of colours and each has its own meaning - white roses mean purity and innocence; carnations symbolize pride and beauty; chrysanthemums symbolize fidelity, optimism, joy and long life and so on.
There used to be a time when flowers were only available in local shops selling garlands and petals for weddings and funerals and people were hard pressed to find a decent bouquet, especially foreigners, who used to lament that “there are no flower shops -- I’ll get chocolates instead!” These traditional shops still exist in all towns and cities, whether big or small and the flowers/petals they usually stock are roses and marigolds. Petals are used on graves; to make a ‘carpet’ for guests to walk on, especially on special occasions and of course, to shower on people when the occasion demands, while garlands can be used for decoration or to welcome someone by putting them around his/her neck. Artificial flowers are also found in these outlets and are useful when there is a shortage of the real thing.