Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)
picture to enlarge
The Easter Flower
The traditional Easter Flower is the lily.
The white lily is a symbol of purity. The single flower stem
coming up from a bulb represents Christ coming back to life 3
days after his crucifixion.
Different countries have different Easter flowers. In the UK
and Russia (probably the only tradition we have in common!), the
pussy willow is 'the' Easter Flower. In fact the most ancient
association of Easter and a particular flower is with the
narcissus. This is still the tradition in parts of Europe.
Origin of Easter
The word Easter is derived from the the ancient Anglo Saxon
goddess 'Eostre' (sometimes spelt 'Eastre'). Eostre was the Great Mother
Goddess of the Saxons in Northern Europe.
Lily Easter Flower
If you choose to buy a white lily as your Easter Flower,
choose one that has several unopened buds and leaves along the stem.
When the lily is inside your house, the buds and leaves will open and
stay fresher for longer. The proportions of the plant to the pot should
ideally be that the lily is about twice the height of the pot.
Caring for your Easter lily is relatively simple. Keep
the soil moist but not water-logged is the most important rule. Then
keep the plant in a light airy and cool position (not more than 70F or
21C). One trick which will prolong the life of the flowers is to remove
the yellow, pollen-bearing pods or anthers in the centre of each flower.
In order to get the lily to flower at this time of year,
the growers have 'forced' it and this means that your Easter Flower is
unlikely to flower again - shame! However, it is worth planting it
outside in May in a protected position. It could possibly come into
flower again in two years time. The process for doing this is to keep it
indoors until the beginning of May by which time the foliage will have
turned brown. Cut the stem off completely at soil level and plant the
bulb outside. The planting depth is important - plant the base of the
bulb about 13 cm (5 inches) deep and cover with soil.
Other Easter Flowers
you are not so keen on lilies or pussy willow don't worry. Other flowers
which are commonly given at Easter are daffodils, tulips and even some
red flowers which in Germany represent the blood of Christ.
The picture on the left (click to enlarge) is the
daffodil variety 'passionale'.
A very common question about Easter Day is why does the date
change so much year by year? This is because Easter is calculated as the
first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21 - so now you
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