How the Easter Lily Grew to Symbolize the Season

Posted on April 04, 2021 by Andrea Forsberg

How the Easter Lily Grew to Symbolize the Season

Everyone enjoys spring flowers, and some spring blooms have special significance. Easter Lilies have become treasured symbols of the Spring season for Americans of all different backgrounds, but these gorgeous white flowers have special significance to members of the Christian faith.

The Tradition of the Easter Lily

The Easter Lily is an iconic symbol of Spring with deep roots in American and Christian traditions. The Easter Lily features long, slender leaves encircling large, beautiful white blooms. In the Christian tradition, the Easter Lilies were traditionally nicknamed "white-robed apostles of hope," and their white color symbolizes the purity of Christ. The trumpet shape of the Easter Lily bloom also symbolizes the message that Christ has risen on Easter Sunday. Their growth cycle also echoes the Christian tradition of the Resurrection.

An Easter Lily begins as a brown, stubbly bulb that grows in the ground for three years before emerging with a beautiful white bloom. These three years in the ground echo the three days Christ spent in the tomb before his Resurrection on Easter Sunday. This symbolic tradition associates the Easter Lily with hope, purity, and rebirth.

There are many other Biblical links to the Easter Lily beyond the Resurrection story. For example, many Biblical scholars believe that the Easter Lily was the flower that bloomed in the Garden of Eden where Eve’s remorseful tears fell to the ground. There are also many depictions of the Archangel Gabriel handing Mary Easter Lily blooms to symbolize her purity.

The Historical Roots of Easter Lilies in America

While you can find Easter Lilies throughout the United States today, these flowers are not indigenous to the Americas. In fact, the Easter Lily is native to a few islands in the Japanese archipelago. In 1777, explorers brought these plants to England before taking them to Bermuda where a large lily cultivation effort unfolded. This eventually led to the Easter Lily earning the nickname the “Bermuda Lily.” However, a floral virus wiped out the crop of Easter Lilies on Bermuda and the Japanese islands once again became the sole source of these beautiful flowers.

After World War I, an American soldier returning home from Japan brought a suitcase full of Easter Lily bulbs to Oregon, and horticulturalists in the area quickly created an Easter Lily boom. The events of World War II involved a cutoff of Easter Lily shipments from Japan which significantly increased demand for the Easter Lily cultivators in the Pacific Northwest, who eventually began calling Easter Lilies “White Gold.”

The Easter Lily is beautiful and steeped in tradition. If you are interested in purchasing an Easter Lily arrangement this Spring, contact Flower Works for information on pricing and delivery.

Posted in Easter, Easter Lily, Happy Easter