Lilies hold special significance during the month of May. Pink and white lilies – especially Lily of the Valley – are May’s birth flower. Lily of the Valley is known by many names, including “Our Lady’s Tears,” and “May Bells.” Read on to learn what makes Lily of the Valley so special, and find out what other lily varieties make great gifts for May celebrations.
The History behind the Traditions
The earliest known legends surrounding Lily of the Valley say that these sweet little flowers grew from the Virgin Mary’s tears when Christ was crucified. Among ancient Germanic people, Lily of the Valley was the symbol of the springtime goddess Ostara. The Romans believed that Lily of the Valley grew from beads of sweat that fell from the hunting goddess Diana. According to British legend, Lily of the Valley grew where Saint Leonard of Noblac’s blood fell during a battle with a dragon. In art, Lily of the Valley was often used to symbolize humility, and it is considered a sign of the second coming of Christ. These legends are why Lily of the Valley stands for a return to happiness today. Since Lily of the Valley comes in white – or more rarely pink – it is also considered to be a symbol of purity and hope.
How Lilies Became May’s Birth Flower
Lilies weren’t considered to be May’s flower until the early 1900’s. During that time, it became a tradition among the French to sell bouquets of this small flower on their International Labor Day, which falls on May 1st. On that day, Lily of the Valley was sold without sales tax to herald the coming of spring. Decades later, Lily of the Valley, along with other pink and white lily varieties, became the universal symbol for spring and the month of May.
About Lily of the Valley and Other May Lilies
With it’s small sprays of bell-shaped flowers, sword-shaped leaves and sweet scent, Lily of the Valley is chief among May lilies. However, if you are searching for the perfect May gift to give a special someone, there are many other lilies that have similar meanings. White Asiatic lilies are a symbol of virtue and chastity, as well as a sign of spring and hope. The ever-popular Stargazer lilies are used to celebrate wealth, abundance and new beginnings. Whether you would like to give flowers for Mother’s Day or a special May birthday, any of these lilies will show how much you care.