Why Are Flowers Important to Mexican Culture?
From ancient times to the present day, flowers have held a significant value in Mexican culture. They can symbolize anything in Mexican society, from creation and beauty to destruction and death, depending on the type of flower. The Aztec destiny flowery wars of 1440 to 1469 was the beginning of the flower theme in wars, a theme that has run for many years in Mexico.
Besides being a theme of war, flowers are important in Mexican culture as they represent the essence of life. Poets and some Aztec Wisemen came up with the phrase Xochitl, In Cuicatl” in 1490, which means “the flower, the song,” in their quest to sum up the meaning of life.
There are many essential meanings of flowers to the Mexicans.
- They are a significant part of all celebrations, especially the Tlaxochimoco feast (distribution of flowers)
- Flowers are important offerings to the deities
- They signify the art of poetry; the only true thing on earth
Video – Mexican Sunflower care
What Kind of Flowers Did the Aztecs Have?
Before the Spanish visit to Mexico, the Aztecs had dahlias and double-flowering marigolds in their gardens. Whether rich or poor, these blossoms were grown in shared gardens by all Aztecs. The Mexican marigold was particularly sacred to them.
The Aztecs got the dahlia plant from their hunting mission and thought it could be helpful to put it in their gardens and courtyards. The plant remained in Mexico until Hernan Cortes visited the country, who later took it alongside other valuable flowering plants to Europe. It is from there those dahlias are widespread in Europe.
What Is the Mexican National Flower?
Dahlia has been the Mexican national flower since 1963. It belongs to the same family as zinnia, chrysanthemum, and Helianthus. It was first grown by Aztecs for food before they could appreciate its beauty. The species vary in color, availability, and shape.
A dahlia plant blooms in autumn. It is commonly called the queen of autumn gardens in Mexico and symbolizes wealth, elegance, involvement, and love. In addition, it bears significant religious meaning for the Aztecs.
It is common in many ceremonies. Its wide range of choices in sizes, colors, and shapes gives it the name Houdini of the garden.
What Does a Sunflower Symbolize in Mexico?
Unknown to many people, the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is native to Mexico, where its domestication first took place.
According to the Mexican beliefs, spirits of the dead were attracted to sunflowers which they associate sunflowers with the sun. It is like a Mexican gift to the rest of the world. It was an ideal offering to the gods and a metaphor and symbol of war.
Before appreciating their beauty as ornamental flowers, the Mexicans initially grew sunflowers for food. Generally, sunflowers represent loyalty, adoration, and devotion. Here are some symbolic meanings of the flower.
- Shield in ceremonies-Mexicans used sunflowers to mark essential ceremonies.
- The metaphor of war-Aztecs in Mexico used the sunflower to signify war and associated it with the sun’s victory as it conquers the powers of night and darkness.
- Spiritual meaning– natives of central Mexico associate the sunflower with Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec god of the sun who was also a god of war. They had rituals of offering sunflowers to Huitzilopochtli at dawn.
- Ornament and funerary offering– Today, Mexicans still offer sunflowers as funerary in cemeteries and also use them as church ornamental flowers. They place sunflower seeds on top of graves believing that they give the dead the strength to carry on their journey to their destination; the afterlife.
Besides the common sunflower, the native Mexican sunflower is commonly known as the red sunflower. It symbolizes passion, energy, positivity, strength, longevity, prosperity, and good luck.
Infographic – Popular Mexican flowers for celebrations
Traditional Mexican Flowers for Celebrations
Mexicans associate various flowers with particular deities and celebrations. While these flowers may be common to other countries or societies, the symbolism remains particularly significant to the culture and beliefs of Mexicans. Learn about some of the fantastic Mexican celebration flowers here.
- Laelia Orchid (Laelia Rubescens)
It is also known as the “rosy-tinted laelia” and is a wildflower that grows on rocks and trees. It bears blooms in pale shades of pink, and it blooms throughout the year. It signifies beauty, love, and luxury.
These wild orchids are vital, from personal adornments in rural community celebrations to huge church decorations for processions in large towns. In addition, households in megapolis city of Mexico use these orchids to brighten up tables during important occasions.
The Mexican sunflower grows in shrubs and appears similar to a daisy. Each shrub can bear about 80 to 120 blossoms in shades of red and yellow, making it dense and beautiful.
These blooms represent loyalty, faith, and adoration. The lovely blossoms appear in summer to early autumn and attract butterflies.
Mexicans offer these blooms to their god of war as a sign of victory. The best thing is that these flowers are easy to grow and maintain. The simplest and most convenient way is to sow them directly into the ground.
- Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
The red appearance of this plant is more from the foliage than flowers. Mexicans and some other communities globally use this flower to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
It represents the Christmas season and symbolizes the star of Bethlehem. It starts blooming from late autumn to early winter.
- Mexican Marigold (Tagetes erecta)
It is one of Mexico’s purest and holy flowers and the most pristine offering to the deities. It is a significant part of celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead.
It comes in various warm colors and generally signifies despair and grief though it bears several symbolic meanings to Mexican culture.
- Mexicans use it on grief occasions
- It is also essential in religious celebrations
- It is a perfect gift for summer birthdays, among other occasions.
The bloom belongs to the daisy family and blossoms from late spring to autumn.
- Mexican Passion Flower (Passiflora Mexicana)
It is one of the most distinct and extraordinary flowers in Mexico. It grows as vines with round-tipped leaves with double lobes. The blooms appear in purple and yellow or green and red. The blossom emits a pungent smell, and bears develop into passion fruits.
It represents the death of Christ and is commonly used in celebrating the passion of Christ. Mexican passion plant blooms in the late summer.
Mexican Flowers Day of the Dead Celebrations
Día de Muertos, commonly known as the day of the dead, is a time in Mexico set to honor the spirits of the dead.
On this particular day, families come together to remember and honor their departed loved ones. These people believe that the spirits of their loved ones pay visits to their living families in businesses, cemeteries, and homes.
During these celebrations, marigolds, which represent the fragility of life, are arranged to guide the spirits to their altars with lovely colors and pungent smells.
The most common marigold in the Día de Muertos ceremony is the Mexican marigold (Targetes erecta) or Aztec marigold. Marigolds generally grow up to 3 feet tall.
Tropical Flowers of Mexico
Mexico’s tropical and temperate regions produce a broad array of exotic blossoms. The country puts in efforts to protect the natural habitats of these incredible beauties of flowers for the benefit of their future generations, as some of them are rare species.
Here are some gorgeous Mexican tropical blooms.
|Common name||Scientific name||Facts and bloom time|
|Garden dahlia||Dahlia pinnata||It is a bushy perennial flowering plant and the national flower for Mexico. It blooms from mid-summer through early winter.|
|Gentian Sage||Salvia patens||it grows in Sierra de Guanajuato Mountain range region in Mexico and blooms from July to November. The flowers look like a parrot’s beak.|
|Mexican honeysuckle||Justicia spicigera||It is a Mexican tropical shrub that produces bright and cheerful blooms in full sun. It blossoms from autumn to spring.|
|Moonflower||Ipomoea alba||It is toxic tropical commonly known to Mexicans as “witches weed” because of its use in several portions and brews to commit murder and suicide. It blooms in mid-summer and extends until late fall.|
|Stinging spurge||Cnidoscolus stimulosus||It is a bushy tropical that bears white blooms and milky sap, and it is covered by stinging hair. It blooms throughout the year, but it is conspicuous from spring to summer.|
Mexican Plants with Purple Flowers
Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) is the most common plant with purple flowers in Mexico. It is also called Mexican bluebell or Britton’s petunia. It is a hardy perennial that is excellent for colorful groundcover and edging flower beds.
It can thrive in any type of soil as long as it is rich and well-draining and prefers neutral to acidic pH. It appreciates and blooms best in full sun but can tolerate some shade.
It blossoms in summer and fall with lovely purple blooms. Its mature size is 1-4 feet tall and 1-3 feet in length and width.