Q:

What do chrysanthemums symbolize?

A:

In China, where chrysanthemums were first grown around the 15th century, the flowers typically symbolize autumn, duration and long life, but they can also symbolize joy and optimism. Chrysanthemums were originally golden but are now grown in a variety of colors, including white, which can be a symbol of grief in China, Korea and Japan.

A chrysanthemum festival is held annually in China, and an ancient Chinese city was named for the flower. Also known as mums, chrysanthemums were introduced to Japan in the eighth century and became an immediate hit, symbolizing the sun and perfection. The Japanese emperor and the imperial family claimed the flower, using a single chrysanthemum as their official seal and crest. The Chrysanthemum Throne is a term used to describe the power and position of the Japanese emperor. The Order of the Chrysanthemum, granted by the emperor, is the highest honor for Japanese citizens. During its annual Festival of Happiness, the nation celebrates National Chrysanthemum Day.

Chrysanthemums made their way to America in the 17th century. They represent positivity and cheerfulness and are the nation’s largest commercially produced flower. In Australia, the flowers are given or worn to honor mothers. Some European countries, such as Belgium and Poland, use chrysanthemums mainly for funerals and graves, and they are known as the death flower.


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