The meaning of chrysanthemums

The meaning of chrysanthemums

Table of Contents

If you’ve ever asked ‘what do chrysanthemums symbolize?’ then this article is for you! From the etymology of this flower to the different meanings of its colors, this is the ultimate guide to understanding the potent and ancient meaning of this wondrous flower.

Chrysanthemum etymology

Where does this flower’s name come from and what is its meaning? The etymology of chrysanthemums tells us a lot about the meaning of the flower and how it has come to carry so much symbolism for many civilizations.

The word ‘chrysanthemum’ is derived from the ancient Greek khrusanthemon; khrusos meaning ‘gold’ and anthemon meaning ‘flower’. The first variants of this plant were famed and beloved for their golden color, which explains where this meaning comes from.

Chrysanthemum’s Chinese meaning

Chrysanthemums were first grown in China and their meaning has both grown and remains entrenched in Chinese soil.

The meaning of chrysanthemums in China varies from providing ancient herbal remedies to symbolizing reincarnation, new life, and good luck in the home. The flower has long been a traditional gift to the elderly to represent this wish for a long life and good luck.

In fact, chrysanthemums’ symbolism in China is so profound that the city of Chu-Hsien’s literal meaning is ‘Chrysanthemum City.;

Not only has it appeared in ancient Chinese writings as herbal remedies for headaches, this flower has long been considered one of the Four Gentlemen. Derived from Confucianism, this carries deep symbolism in Chinese art, making it one of the four primary plants – alongside the plum blossom, orchid, and bamboo – portrayed in the country’s traditional watercolor paintings.

Japanese chrysanthemum meaning

Chrysanthemum’s meaning carries equal significance in Japan. After the flower arrived in the country via Buddhist monks in 400 AD, the Japanese quickly became infatuated with this bright and auspicious bloom, crowning it as the official seal and emperor’s crest.

So beloved are chrysanthemums in Japan that there is an annual National Chrysanthemum Day, or to call this day by its other title, the Festival of Happiness.

As in Chinese culture, this flower also symbolizes a sense of rebirth and rejuvenation in Japan. Simultaneously, however, it is also an important and demonstrative flower used in mourning and funerals with white mums in particular being synonymous with death.

What is the meaning of chrysanthemums in other parts of the world?

The chrysanthemum flower language is not the same the world over. Indeed, on every continent it seems, there is a different interpretation of this flower’s meaning.

In Europe, the flower is said to have a meaning of sympathy. This is particularly true in Belgium and Austria where chrysanthemums are almost entirely used to ornament a loved one’s grave. In America, it holds meanings of respect and honor while in Australia, chrysanthemums are the official Mother’s Day flower. Given their favored nickname of “mums”, it isn’t altogether surprising they have this meaning!

However, despite these disparate meanings, there is also a universal meaning of this generally vibrant and cheerful flower. In general, chrysanthemums are considered symbolic of longevity, joy, devoted love, happiness, and loyalty.

Chrysanthemum colors’ meaning

As ever in the magical language of flowers, the color of the bloom can completely alter its meaning. Chrysanthemums are no different. Here’s the meanings behind some of the most common colors of this flower.

White chrysanthemum meaning

White varieties carry several meanings. For some cultures, white mums are exclusively used to express meanings of remembrance and condolences. White flowers are often synonymous with meanings of sympathy and loss.

However, the other meaning of white mums – again similar to many flowers of this color – is one of purity, innocence, and fidelity.

Blue chrysanthemum meaning

Meanwhile, blue variations carry a myriad of meanings, depending on who you ask. While some consider these blooms to convey an end to love and hold a meaning that someone has overcome a relationship break up, others believe that violet varieties are a great symbol to convey well-wishes to someone.

Either way, blue or violet chrysanthemums are a great gift for a friend or loved one who might be sick, recovering from an illness or even getting over heartbreak.

Orange chrysanthemum meaning

On a much happier note, orange mums carry the same meaning as many orange flowers, denoting excitement, enthusiasm, friendship, and love. Not quite as passionate as a red-colored flower, orange mums are a great way to express delicate love, or perhaps a platonic love that you wish to be something more.

They also carry friendship meanings and are a wonderful way to cheer up an ailing friend.

Pink chrysanthemum meaning

Returning to the beloved position of chrysanthemums in Japanese culture and their symbolic meaning, pink varieties are the most cherished of all as they have long been a traditional symbol of the Imperial family and Japanese emperor.

As well as this, pink mums, as a softer version of red, carry meanings of romance, affection, and love. Their delicate color perfectly symbolizes the uncertainty and fragility of new love and tentative devotion, meaning these blooms are a great gift for a new relationship blossoming in your life.

Yellow chrysanthemum flower meaning

Poor yellow chrysanthemums have a bit more of a bad reputation and have carried negative meanings. Since Victorian times, these bright blooms have been the symbol of neglected love and sorrow.

Thankfully, the meaning of yellow flowers is slowly changing and becoming more in line with the vibrant and cheerful hues of these sun-colored varieties. Now, yellow mums are more likely to carry meanings of celebration, happiness, and joy.

It isn’t surprising then to learn that here in the United States, yellow and orange chrysanthemums are by far the most popular bedding plants used in garden design.

Outside of the flower bed, yellow chrysanthemums are the perfect gift to congratulate a loved one’s achievement, celebrate a birthday, or simply cheer up a friend in need.

Now you know the many special and intricate meanings of these wonderfully bright blooms, all you need to do is order a sumptuous bouquet of them for someone you love - or perhaps even for yourself. These amazing flower delivery services offer a host of bouquets bursting with the affectionate, happy, and loyal meanings of chrysanthemums. Order your meaningful arrangement here:


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