Hungary: The Language of Flowers

Posted in: Hungary

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Photo by Ascendingkitty

In the 19th century, Hungarians often used flowers—and not words—to express feelings. The legacy of this means that saying it with flowers in Hungary can be a tricky business. A basic understanding of the symbolism involved may save embarrassment and help make you a more welcome guest.

First off, make sure the number of flowers you give are uneven. A bouquet with an even number of flowers is considered unlucky. Never give chrysanthemums as these are funeral flowers. Men who give daffodils to women are telling her they want more than friendship, while white carnations announce “I’m still free!”

Tulips are fine to give as they symbolise honesty and sincerity, except for yellow tulips as they represent hopeless, unrequited love. Be careful of lilies as they mean devotion, and that the bearer is considering marriage!

For a guaranteed smile, choose roses. Pink roses symbolise happiness and yellow ones nowadays mean friendship (they used to signal jealousy!). A mixed bouquet of red and white roses represents unity or harmony.

And one more tip for Cheapos attempting to master the local flower vernacular: Buy your blooms at markets. Flowers are much cheaper at markets than in shops and at kiosks.

About the author

Melanie lives in Budapest with her Hungarian husband and two daughters, Rose and Thea. She teaches English and Psychology in an International School in the city and is studying for a Masters Degree in Children's Literature.

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