It’s almost Easter, and there’s only one flower that can truly capture the spirit of the holiday: the Easter lily. Pure white in color with a trumpet-like shape, it’s long been associated with purity, innocence, and spring, making it the perfect flower to welcome a fresh new season. But how did this little bloom come to be the most popular Easter flower?
Known to Christians as the “white-robed apostle of hope,” the Easter lily has been a religious symbol since the birth of Christianity – and is even mentioned in the Bible a few times.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, King Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these,” Jesus said during the legendary Sermon on the Mount, touting the grace and beauty of this simple white flower as more impressive than the holdings of the richest king in the Bible. After Jesus’ death and resurrection as told by the Christian faith, his admiration of white lilies began to take on an entirely new symbolism.
An Easter lily begins life as a modest bulb, and after at least three years underground, blooms anew as a bright, fragrant flower. Similarly, the Bible says Jesus began life as a mere human, who after death, spent three days in a tomb before being born anew on Easter as a transformed holy being. And appropriately enough, Nazareth, Jesus’s hometown, was an ancient Hebrew term for “flower.”
The distinctive shape of the Easter Lily furthers the message of the holiday. Virginia-based florist Victoria Zachary of Flowerama, Richmond explains that “just like other lilies, they have six petals, but this one is very unique because of its trumpet shape.” St. Bede, a 7th century Benedictine monk, wrote of the flower’s special form as a horn being blown to announce both Jesus’ resurrection and the start of spring, the season of rebirth in which nature’s color and glory returns.
Just like other lilies, they have six petals, but this one is very unique because of its trumpet shape.
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