FLOWERS ARE universally given and accepted as a wonderful, thoughtful, warm gift. Giving gifts is part and parcel of social interaction. No other gift can match the versatility of a single flower, which can express joy, gratitude, romance, sympathy, or an apology for that matter!
Flowers have their own language and symbolism based on the type and colour. The meaning of flowers was so well developed that in 17th century Turkey, secret messages were conveyed through flowers! This secret language was popular enough in Europe for the French to codify the first flower dictionary in the year 1818.
To give an example, while a red roses or carnation was sent to give the message, "my heart aches for you," one dreaded receiving a striped carnation back which meant, "A no; Refusal or Sorry" a rather civilized way of saying, "Buzz off". Interestingly one could always reply to that with a yellow rose/carnation, and it would tell the recipient, "You have disappointed me". If a single red rose is received as the answer, you have a slight problem because the sender has decided to ignore the refusal and just declared his undying love for you.
If you are in Japan, you might want to avoid giving white lilies, or chrysanthemums, which are associated with funerals. They are also superstitious about potted plants, as it is believed to encourage sickness. If you are gifting a bunch of flowers to a Japanese then make sure that it has more or lesser than four flowers, because number four in Japanese is `shi', which is also the word for death.
While in China, avoid giving yellow or white flowers and zooming across to Europe, flowers are often taken to a hostess of a dinner party at her home. Remember that red roses mean "romance, secrecy and passion," while yellow roses can signify "jealousy". Avoid even number of flowers, which signifies bad luck, as does 13 in a bunch. White lilies or chrysanthemums again are associated with funerals.
Flowers are appropriate gifts in Latin and Central American countries, but certain colour needs to be avoided. In Guatemala, white flowers are associated with funerals, while in Mexico or Brazil, purple flowers have the same connotation. Therefore, when traveling abroad, check what the local significance is; you can avoid the embarrassment of sending unwanted messages.
Apart from these little quirks in flower giving or sending flowers, follow some basic guidelines and you will come out a winner.
- Flowers are appropriate practically for any occasion. Check the local custom.
- Gifting flowers spontaneously creates the best of goodwill and cheer.
- Don't forget that a nice potted plant is also a great hostess gift, as well as when you are visiting someone who is convalescing.
- It is a good idea to gifting flowers or sending either before the party, or the next day. Otherwise, she will have to busy herself looking for a vase to put the flowers in, taking her away from her hostess duties.
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