homepage logo

A bouquet of dandelions is just fine for me

By Staff | May 7, 2010

Throughout history, the symbol of flowers is repeatedly linked with motherhood. Flowers, with their simplicity, beauty and purity represent the love of a mother for her child.

Something tells me that I’ll be receiving flowers for Mother’s Day this year. What makes me think this? Well, my three-year-old daughter has started giving me flowers whenever she gets the chance so I think she might do so again on Mother’s Day.

Sure her version of a beautiful bouquet is a bunch of dandelions crumpled up in her hands, but, as they say, it’s the thought that counts.

When I was a kid, I’d give flowers to my mom quite often. Sometime they were garden-variety weeds like dandelions or the occasional purple flowering alfalfa plant. The yellow buds of a mustard plant were also appealing. Or sometimes it was the first crocus plants of spring. My favorite were the fragrant lilacs that grew in abundance on our farm.

Mom would smile and thank me for my gift every time. Even if she had to put up with the unwanted pests-namely bugs-that came along with the bouquet. Just about every mother has faked abundant appreciation for her child’s beautiful bouquet. It’s a rite of passage, I guess, for moms. Like my mother before me, and likely her mother before her, I, too, fake my glee and gladness for every little beautiful dandelion that my Abby picks and proudly presents to me.

With Mother’s Day upon us again this year, have you ever wondered where the tradition of Mother’s Day comes from? Or why, in fact so many people choose to give Mother’s Day flowers each year?

Around the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated in different ways and on different days. One of the earliest historical records of a celebration of Motherhood was Matronalia, the ancient roman celebration held in honor of the Goddess, Juno. Juno was the goddess of childbirth. The holiday celebrated the idea of motherhood and childbirth.

Mother’s Day, as we know it, was created by Anna Jarvis in 1912. She created the day in honor of her own Mother, Ann Jarvis, who had passed away. Along with activist, Julia Ward Howe, the two had worked for over 40 years to have a day recognized for women. While campaigning for the day, Anna Jarvis would often give out white carnations, which is likely where the tradition of Mother’s day flowers originates from. A white carnation symbolizes the purity of a mother’s love. Still to this day, Mother’s Day flower deliveries in Manhattan includes more white carnations than any other day of the year. Around the country, roses are also a popular choice with their universal appeal.

In the United Kingdom Mother’s Day flowers are the most common form of gift. Instead of Mother’s day, the British often use the term Mothering Sunday. This is an old Christian holiday which has, over time, come to merge with the more well-known celebration of Mother’s Day. Historically, the fourth Sunday of Lent was a time when many families in Britain gained leave from their employment. Often it was the only time of year all family members would be able to take holidays. For this reason, they would all return to their home church, to spend time together. Sometimes this day is known as Rose Sunday. In honor of motherhood, roses are given out at the Sunday church service to all women who are present.

In China, like the United States, it is commonplace for children to give their mother white carnations. However, some traditionalists opt for lilies, which historically are planted by mothers when their children leave home.

So whatever your Mother’s Day tradition, you may receive roses or carnations or any flower in between and be happy as can be. I’m likely to get a wad of dandelions this year and that’s just fine for me.

Mullally is a Tribune writer.

Some information taken from


Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page