Spring Flowers

An Easter tradition that blooms all over the world

By Google Arts & Culture

Tulips and other spring flowers, Hampton Court Palace (2016) by Andrew ButlerHistoric Royal Palaces

All around the world, cultures observe Easter in different ways but there’s one tradition that is universal: the flower. For the Northern Hemisphere, Easter coincides with the start of spring, where flowers begin to bloom and the trees begin to bud.

Daffodils by RBG KewRoyal Botanic Gardens, Kew

This natural display of new life is hard to miss, so even below the equator where the seasons are changing from summer to autumn, Easter festivities still incorporate flowers. Just like eggs, fluffy yellow chicks, and bunnies, flowers represent fresh beginnings and rebirth.

Woman preparing dining table for Easter by supersizer

Homes and shops everywhere make the most of this seasonal burst of color by displaying vibrant arrangements of flowers throughout the Easter celebrations. Easter meals often include a floral centerpiece on the table and churches host elaborate flower festivals as a symbolic nod to the resurrection.

trumpet daffodilOriginal Source: find out more garden navigator

Popular Easter flowers even hold varying meanings. White lilies are considered a very traditional Easter flower as they are an ancient symbol of the resurrection, representing purity and hope. The daffodil is a common first sign of spring across the world and in Germany are known as the “Easter bells”. Other popular symbols include the tulip, the daisy, and the azalea.

Poster for the spring festival in Seville, 1928 (detail) (1928)Andalusian Archives

Around Spain and other Latin American countries, extravagant processions are commonplace at Easter (known as Semana Santa, or Holy Week) where parade floats of intricate religious scenes are embellished with bright clusters of flowers.

Easter in Baseco (2020) by Xyza Cruz BaconiOriginal Source: Museo Nacional de Antropología

Processions also take place in the Philippines, where children dress as angels and throw flowers on passers-by. Another widespread custom involves palm fronds (palaspas) blessed on Palm Sunday, which are believed to ward off bad luck, lightning, and fires if displayed in the home for the following year.

Historic Town of Ouro Preto (1980) by Historic Town of Ouro PretoUNESCO World Heritage

On the night before Easter Sunday in Ouro Preto, Brazil, flower petals are used to create a 4km-long colorful carpet that stretches along the streets of the town. The petals are arranged into intricate patterns together with sand and colored sawdust, creating a path for the Semana Santa procession to walk from church to church the next day.

La Merced church procession on Good Friday morning (2017-04-17) by Alena Gamm / EyeEm (Getty Images)

A similar tradition takes place across Guatemala, where the streets are lined with carefully laid out flowers, as well as fruits and vegetables. Many people work overnight to have these elaborate floral artworks in place for the celebrations the following morning.

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