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Celebrating Easter with A Look At the History of Easter Lilies

Happy Easter to all of our Easter celebrators, and Happy Spring to those who are not! All are welcome here. 

We love celebrating holidays here at Amanda Bee’s Floral Design, especially the ones with pretty flowers. Flowers are always a good idea, but they’re an even better idea on holidays. Easter is one of those holidays that we’re given an excuse to surround ourselves with flowers, joy, family, and candy. 

Between the Easter Lily’s trumpet shape and white petals, they’re a stunning centerpiece for arrangements at home, at church, or really any and everywhere. Whether you love them for their religious significance, their signature scent, or you’re just a flower enthusiast, now is the season to sprinkle them throughout your life.

The lily has been associated with Easter for a very long time. The white lily has become embraced as a symbol of purity, life, innocence, virtue, and hope, which accurately represent the true meaning of Easter in the Christian faith. It is a time to embrace life and rebirth. An intrinsic link between Christ and the lily has been made throughout history in the Bible, legend, Literature, poetry, lore and more. The link is so strong that it is almost impossible to not think of one without thinking of the other. 

Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Annunciation is one of the most notable works depicting a white lily with the Virgin Mary. The Archangel Gabriel reaches to Mary with a cluster of white lilies to announce the impending arrival of Christ and her role as the virgin mother. The white lily is a representation of motherhood with her purity symbolized by the pure white petals and the golden anthers announcing her radiance to all. Though it’s not the first work of art to depict Mary with lilies, it is one of the most recognizable even today. 

Even in death, lore connects lilies with Mary. Three days after her death, upon visiting the Virgin Mary’s tomb, the tomb was found empty and covered in lilies to honor her purity, faith, devotion, and motherhood. 

During His life, Jesus referenced lilies in His famous beatitudes found in Matthew and again in Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you, Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Today, Christ is more often symbolized by lilies than cited for talking about them. They are so connected to Jesus, they have even become known by their nickname the White-Robed Apostles of Hope. Legend says that after His death and resurrection, the Garden of Gethsemane was enshrouded in white lilies as a way to honor the Savior and His sacrifice for humankind. The lily’s life cycle has come to embody Christ’s death and resurrection as a metaphor. Lilies grow from bulbs which must be buried in order to bloom.

In a more uplifting connection between Christ and Easter Lilies, the shape of lilies have come to hold significant meaning for Christians and humans. Their beautiful trumpet shape harkens to the angels heralding of significant events throughout the Bible and Jesus’ life, especially the resurrection of Christ. Lilies are one of the first blooms to arrive, so they trumpet the arrival of spring!

Whether you’re an Easter celebrator or a flower lover, I hope you have an amazing spring weekend filled with fun, love, food, flowers, and nice weather. Whenever you’re in the area, make sure to stop by the shop and see us. We love to chit chat and talk flowers!

Fun Fact: During the Victorian era, the stamens and pistils were removed because they were viewed as overtly sexual, which was not acceptable in Victorian culture. The stamens and pistils are sometimes still removed, but that’s to keep the pollen from getting everywhere and staining things. 

Fun Fact #2: Lilies first arrived in the United States after World War I, when Louis Houghton, a soldier, brought lily bulbs home to Oregon with him from Japan in a suitcase. He gave the bulbs to friends in the horticulture industry, and lilies started popping up all over California and Oregon because of the perfect growing conditions. This area is still known as the Easter Lily Capital of the World. The bulb grew in demand, but after World War II, it became almost impossible to import them with the embargoes placed on Japan. 

Lily Quotes:
“The only Commandment I ever obeyed — 'Consider the Lilies.’” – Emily Dickinson

“Look to the lilies how they grow! 'Twas thus the Saviour said, that we, Even in the simplest flowers that blow, God's ever-watchful care might see.” – David Macbeth Moir

“Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens” – Song of Solomon 2:2

“I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots” – Hosea 14:5

“Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.”
-Louise Lewin Matthews

Just Remember! 

Lilies are very poisonous to cats, so make sure to keep them out of reach of your kitty friends. If you want to play it extra safe, you can always choose non-poisonous flowers that are still Easter friendly. I suggest: dahlias, ranunculus, roses, and orchids. 

If you don’t have cats but still want an Easter lily alternative try one or all of these: daffodils, irises, daisies, dahlias, and new varieties of chrysanthemums.

If you’re in the Houston and Cypress area, stop in and I’ll make you the perfect spring arrangement. Otherwise, head to your nearest local florist and ask them for an arrangement incorporating lilies rather than just a lily arrangement. Or better yet tell them to get creative for an Easter inspired arrangement! Florists love to get creative and try out new things.