May Birth Flower : Lily-of-the-Valley

If you are a May baby your birth flowers are Lily-of-the-valley and Hawthorn. This post is about Lily-of-the-valley. With its small, dainty, bell-shaped white flowers, it is a perennial groundcover that spreads aggressively given the right conditions. These flowers represent sweetness and purity.

It is also known as Our Lady’s Tears, May lily, and May bells. It is native to Eurasia, but has become naturalized in North America, having been planted in home gardens for its simple foliage and lovely flowers.

It produces pendulous, bell-shaped white flowers with a strong, sweet smell. It can also produce pink or purple blossoms.

Lily-of-the-valley Meanings and Symbolism

  • In ancient astrology, Lily-of-the-valley was said to be protected by the son of the goddess Maia. In Greek mythology, that son was Hermes; for the Romans, it was Mercury.
  • According to legend, Lily-of-the-valley fell in love with the song of the nightingale and only bloomed when the bird returned to the woods in May.
  • It is also believed that Apollo created the ground cover flower for nymphs to walk on.
  • This flower has been associated with motherhood, sweetness, purity, and humility. It signifies a return to happiness, likely due to its time of bloom and the anticipation of summer.
  • In Christian lore, Lily-of-the-valley came to be from Eve’s tears after she was expelled from the Garden of Eden. It has also been said that Lily-of-the-valley sprouted from the tears of Mary at the site of Christ’s crucifixion.

Lily-of-the valley in History

  • In the 1500s, King Charles IX was gifted a lily-of-the-valley for good luck on May Day, and each year following, he continued the tradition of gifting the flowers for luck.
  • In France, the tradition of gifting Lily-of-the-valley continues as a symbol of good luck.
  • In Serbia, Lily-of-the-valley is picked on St. George’s feast day, and people decorate their homes with the flowers to bring about good luck and prosperity.
  • The flower is mentioned numerous times in the bible and has also been associated with Christ’s second coming.
  • Thomas Jefferson recorded the flower in a list of hardy perennials that grew at his Monticello home.
  • Due to its sweet fragrance, Lily-of-the-valley is a popular choice for wedding bouquets. In Holland, newlyweds have been known to plant Lily-of-the-valley in their garden to bring about luck in their marriage. The flowers were also part of the bridal bouquets of Princess Diana and Kate Middleton.
  • In Helston, England, the Lily-of-the-valley is worn during the Furry Dance, a centuries-old celebration observed on May 8 each year.
  • Lily-of-the-valley is the national flower of Finland.
I hope you enjoyed this post. One about the month of May other birth flower Hawthorn will follow shortly. Do you have any Lily-of-the-valley growing in your garden?

You may now like to read this post ‘Some Foods In Season During May’ which also has some recipe suggestions – see here

All the best Jan


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