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Learn basics of flower language before International Women’s Day

Published time: March 07, 2011 15:02
Edited time: March 07, 2011 20:46

With Russia gearing up to celebrate women tomorrow, RT offers a few tips on how best to treat the ladies in your life – Russian style.

For Elena Ovsyankina, director of Elfler floral design company, the beginning of spring is always the busiest time.

“A spring bouquet has to truly put a spring in your step and bring some sunshine into your life,” Elena told RT. “And it’s all because of March 8 – International Women’s Day.”

First marked in Europe in 1911, in Russia the holiday became hugely popular during Soviet times. Back then, it was embraced as a way to promote women’s rights and was even made a day off from work.

Nowadays, it has lost its political flavor and turned into a mix of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, and offering women flowers is the order of the day. No wonder flower-growing companies are rushed around like mad.

“We’ve got so many orders to fill that we have to do night shifts,” Evgenia Dolbachyova, designer at Belaya Dacha Flowers, told RT. “Apart from traditional bouquets, it’s become very popular to offer flowers in pots, because they won’t just fade after a couple of days. But since it’s springtime, traditional spring flowers like tulips remain the most popular choice.”

While polls show that for nearly half of Russian men, March 8 is nothing more than a flower-giving routine, floral designers say your bouquet can be much more than just a sign of attention. Flowers have the power to speak volumes, even when we find ourselves lost for words.

The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was widely used during the Victorian era to send coded messages. Flowers could silently speak of love or dislike depending on which ones were given, how they were grouped together and even how they were held. You could say “yes” by offering a flower with the right hand – and “no” with the left.

Back then, special dictionaries were even written to decode the secret meaning of flower arrangements. Today, some of this language is still taken very seriously.

“Many men make the mistake of choosing red roses to demonstrate the strength of their passion,” Elena Ovsyankina, director of Elfler floral design company, told RT. “It’s such a cliché! When it comes to colors, pastels are more appropriate for younger girls, while bright ones, like orange, would be a better gift for your mother. In this bouquet, pink tulips symbolize affection and tenderness – perfect for spring.”