Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that flowers had significance to people as far back as the Pleistocene epoch. A familial Neanderthal grave discovered in Iraq contained pollen that indicated that flowers had been place in, or on top of the grave. Flowers have always been a symbol of renewal and rebirth for people. The custom of offering flowers to the dead is ancient and common to many cultures. Flowers existed long before man, but man has always appreciated their beauty and imbued then with many symbols.
Many spring rituals are celebrated with flowers, which are the traditional symbol for the beginning of a new growing season. Spring in The Netherlands means tulip festivals. Although not originally native to the area, tulips have a special meaning to the Dutch and are celebrated and exchanged as gifts between friends. Both cut flowers and bulbs are prized.
In Washington, DC, the capitol of the United States, Japanese cherry blossoms bring tourists each spring. The flowering trees were originally a gift from the government of Japan to the United States. Few gifts have been as prized or celebrated as these lovely trees which renew the gift year after year.
In Great Britain, spring is celebrated with May Day and flowers are a big part of the celebration. Easter is celebrated by Christians worldwide with offerings of white lilies. Hyacinths have a special place in Greek mythology, said to have sprung from the mortal wound of the god Apollo's lover.
The first evidence of cultivated roses has been found in China and dates back 5000 years. Roses are among the most prized flowers in many cultures and have been grown in many varieties almost all over the world.
The offering of flowers as gifts is as old as man. Flowers and herbs often served as medicines and the gift of certain flowers was intended to heal. Even in today's society, we often send flowers to people who are ill. Some flowers were credited with mystical powers and the gift of these was intended as a blessing, or in some cases, a curse. Flowers and their seeds have been exchanged between rulers and governments as signs of good will throughout history.
The scent of certain flowers can evoke powerful memories and emotions in people. The sense of smell is one of the most primitive senses and man has long sought to reproduce the scent of certain flowers. Flowers provide color and beauty as well as pleasing our sense of touch and smell. Poets have compared women to flowers. The English language is full of floral references. Healthy people are said to have roses in their cheeks. Colors are named for flowers because people immediately understand the reference and can identify the color.
To say it with flowers is to honor a tradition as old as man. The gift of flowers has a meaning and history that is not matched by any other gift. If you are looking for the perfect gift for a lover, a friend, a teacher or even a co-worker, flowers are traditional and appreciated by people of all cultures. It's possible that flowers were the first gifts exchanged by people. They have been and remain the perfect gift.