Stately vegetation and showy flowers are not the only plants that hold deep symbolism. Sometimes, the biggest messages come from common garden flowers, ones that are smaller than we may think and may walk past every day without thinking twice. This is the case with Marigolds and these flowers may mean a lot more than we think. We have written this article to dive into the flower in closer detail and find out a little more about its symbolism, as well as cultural significance and botanical characteristics.
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What Does The Marigold Mean?
The most obvious meaning of any organic plant found in a garden is that it is a pest deterrent. However, as we have just mentioned, the Marigold has much deeper meanings than this. They are bright and beautiful flowers and very attractive to the human eye.
People favored them as love charms and used in weddings or as decorative pieces on other special occasions. Ultimately, it symbolizes beauty and freshness.
The Marigold can also promote cheerfulness and good relations in any relationship, whilst capturing the beauty of the rising sun.
It also symbolizes a desire for wealth and the drive to succeed. However, many can also use it to remember and celebrate the dead as well as symbolize despair and grief over the loss of a loved one. Moreover, it has religious connotations and could mean a sacred offering to the Gods.
The Marigold closely associated with the sun, representing passion and creativity. Such is because of its vibrant yellow and gold colors. The flowers open when the sun is out. Thus, many called the flower ‘herb of the sun’.
It can survive in high heat. But you should keep the soil moist to keep them blooming. You should however not overwater them, as they do not like wet conditions. The seeds are simple to plant and they easily bloom and reseed.
Etymological Meaning Of The Marigold
Marigolds have a common name and two different genera, giving them an interesting etymological history. Marigolds fall into two categories and these are based on their scientific nomenclature. In the first group, you will find flowers that are in the Calendula family, and this is the Latin name that means, ‘little clock’.
All of the other types of Marigolds are much less common and they hail from the Tagetes Family instead. This name comes from the religious prophet, Tages, who has a powerful influence on Etruscan culture. Both ways, however, have to do with the plant’s first use as an offering to the Virgin Mary. In this story, he gave the flower in place of gold coins.
The Marigold is therefore derivative from ‘Mary’s Gold’. This was influenced by how early Christians placed flowers to replace coins on mary’s altar as an offering. As a result, they often used the flower in festivities that honor Mary.
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The Symbolism Of The Marigold
The symbolism of the Marigold runs deep. Though they are closely related to the sun and cheerfulness, they can also symbolize cruelty, grief, and jealousy. They can show passion and they associated with the courageous lion who is legendary, big, and bold.
Its Victorian symbolism relates to desire for riches and is probably consequent to the legends of the flower being Mary’s gold which depicts coins, as we mentioned earlier in the article.
In Victorian flower language, experts also consider it as a symbol of grief and despair and shared with the Mexican cultural conception. This then links it to the remembrance of the dead during Dia de Muertos. Furthermore, the Victorians have linked it with the cruel treatment of a loved one.
In Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Aztec, and Pagan religions, they offer the flower as a sacrifice to the gods. It has strong ties with the sun as well as its power to resurrect the dead.
Most types of Marigolds offer the same symbolism and this is because they share the same yellow, orange, and red colors. In the Middle Ages, they used marigolds as love charms or spells by both men and women, who wanted to try and attract someone new.
Modern symbolism focuses on the sunny color and beauty and this means it is a symbol of optimism and success. It focuses on the beauty and warmth of the flowers and winning the affections of someone through hard work and creativity. It can symbolize a drive to succeed and make a relationship work.
Marigold Color Meanings
Every type of Marigold has a certain variation of yellow or red petals and these colors give the flowers layers of meanings. This especially becomes relevant when mixed with similar colored blooms in a bright bouquet. People often choose these colors when they are low or down and they need a pick me up.
Marigolds that bloom in red have been elusive in the past. However, there have been a few cultivated varieties that have achieved this fiery image.
The symbolism of the red Marigold is not like the other colors, yet like most red flowers, they symbolize romantic love. A lot of cultures also see red as representative of prosperity and long life.
The orange Marigold symbolizes deep feelings and passion. It also indicates strong and positive emotions.
The orange-red Marigold is not a deep red and they usually have orange-tipped petals. They combine the meaning of the two colors, symbolizing passion, love, and romance.
A yellow or a gold Marigold reminds us of the sun and the golden hues linked with happiness, warmth, joy, and positive energy. Most varieties of these colors bloom in a sunny color and encourage good luck, optimism, and happy thoughts.
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Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Marigold
The Marigold is a herbaceous plant and can reach heights of 80cm. However, it usually measures between 40-50cm, and the flower forms taproots, that often have a spindle-shaped appearance with branched fibers.
The Marigold has striking rich leaves and these sit on the four-edge hairy stems, that carry the leaves in an alternating pattern. The tip of the leaf is round and the middle looks wavy. They are studded with felty, fine hair.
The flowering period of the Marigold is between June and October. Yet the flowering time of a single flower basket is relatively short to a maximum of 7 days.
After the flowering period has passed, the fruit develops from the ligulate flower and these are named ‘achenes’ according to their plant family. This refers to the winged closing fruits containing brown seeds.
Special Occasions For The Marigold
When it comes to special occasions, there are lots of reasons why you might gift someone a bouquet of Marigold flowers. It might be for a religious ceremony or to remember a lost loved one.
Or on a more positive note, they also commonly gifted the flower for summer birthdays, as a way of encouraging someone to reach their full potential. Marigolds also express your jealousy when trapped in a love triangle.
You will also find Marigolds at a Hindu wedding celebration. The blossoms are a great gift for acknowledging a loved one or a friend’s recent nuptials.
This is because of their cheerful colors and their auspicious symbolic meanings. You can gift them to spread joy, sending positive energy for a successful marriage.
Finally, as Marigold is such a lovely ‘pick-me-up’, they are perfect to gift to a friend who is going through a difficult time in life. They can send a ‘get well’ or ‘thinking of you’ message and they always send positive energy to let that friend know you are there for them always.
Marigold Cultural Significance
People have grown Marigolds all over the world and they have been enjoyed throughout generations. However, they have been spread around the world so much is hard to be certain of their origin. Calendula varieties of the flower are most likely to have originated in Southern Europe.
The native region of Tagetes flowers is well known and they are grown in the Southwestern United States, South America, and Central America. The ancient Aztecs from this area cultivated the flower to be used in religious ceremonies and medicinal treatments.
Tagetes seeds also made their way to Spain and the rest of the world. This was done via Spanish explorers in the 1500s.
In Mexico, the flower plays an important role in Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. They believe the flowers draw in spirits with their fragrance and bright colors and placed on decorative gravesites, shrines, and altars to remember the dead.
In ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, Marigolds symbolize healing and restoration. In both cultures, they valued the flower for their healing properties and they used them to help with wounds and sores. They also added them to food and drink for additional flavor.
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Marigold Flower Facts
- The Marigold is not a high maintenance flower and it encounters few pest problems or plant diseases. A little water washes away any nuisance or insects from the plant.
- The Marigold can either come in single blossoms or big frilly clusters and other types are like big round balls.
- Marigolds can come in big round balls of 14 petals and the petals from one cluster represent a huge golden pompon.
- The flower blooms from the latter half of spring all through the summer season and to encourage more blooms, you should pinch off spent blossoms to scatter around.
- Pot Marigold bloom at the start of the year.
- People used to believe that picking Marigolds or looking after them over a long period can make someone into a drunkard. Others think of the flower as a love charm.
- The Marigold name equals the number 7 in Numerology and this signifies a deep understanding.
- They are bright yellow and gold, with shades of ivory, orange, and mahogany or a combination of different colors.
Marigold Flower Uses
The different varieties of Marigold are useful and aside from being a symbol of joy, can be used for taste and cooking.
The Tagetes offer a mint or tarragon flavor to their leaves and the Calendula flowers are used in salads and tea additives. Some cook the flowers in a fat-based salve and use them to treat skin irritation.
The odor of the plant and root hormones scare many animals and insects away from the garden and they kill nematodes in the soil.
Rabbits also dislike the smell of Marigolds and planting a border of the flowers in your garden is a safe way to stop bunnies from eating your vegetables.
The flower has medicinal properties such as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. This means the flower can soothe skin and has been used to treat rashes, wounds, and burns.
Finally, Marigolds have antispasmodic properties and this means they can help relax muscles. Apply the drops from the flower to help with relaxing muscle cramps and any tension in the body.
Since they can have a calming effect, they can exacerbate the effects of sedative medications.
If you do decide to use them for their medicinal qualities, always check with a doctor before taking Marigold supplements as they can interact with medications.
Moreover, if you are prone to allergies or have any history of allergic reactions to Marigolds, ragweed, or other plants from the same family, check this with your doctor before using it as a skin treatment.
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What Is The Symbolism Of A Marigold Flower Tattoo?
Since the Marigold is such a positive flower, it makes for a great tattoo design that represents optimism and positivity. If you have a Marigold tattoo, this means you can always see the positive side to situations you encounter, and you have a sense of warmth and hold strong values.
It might also suggest the wearer is hardworking and you have a hardworking spirit who will not take any nonsense. The tattoo is linked with wealth and with an aspiration for success.
If you have a Marigold tattoo, you are often a kind person who cares for others, but you might also have a creative side as a result of the flower’s bright and poignant colors.
A Mexican Marigold tattoo is meant to honor loved ones who have passed and is worn to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). If you have a French Marigold tattoo, this refers to passion and creativity, and in French culture, the ability to have prophetic dreams and supernatural powers.
The signet Marigold tattoo meaning represents passion as they have a potent scent. The wearer might often have a passion for art. The Southern Cone Marigold tattoo represents those with warm personalities and is worn by someone who prides themselves on being a kind person.
Finally, The red-crescent Marigold tattoo represents passion but also that you have a lot of compassion.
We hope after reading this article you now understand a little more about the Marigold and the symbolism attached to it. Though they might seem like organic garden flowers you walk past every day, they have a deep cultural history with some interesting meanings behind them.
They remind us even the humblest creations hold their beauty to share with the world and if you see a Marigold, you know the sun is coming and joy is on its way.
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