Monday, April 16, 2012

SnowDrops

Galanthus nivalis
Family: Amaryllidaceae

Common Names: ~Fair Maid of February~ ~Bulbous Violet~ ~Emblem of Early Spring~ ~Maids of February~ ~Candlemas Bells'~ ~Mary's Tapers~
Native of Switzerland, Austria and of Southern Europe, Snowdrops and carnations are the traditional flowers for the month of January. The nameGalanthus, is Greek in its origin and signifies ~Milk -white- flower.~ Nivalis is a Latin adjective, meaning ~relating to~ or ~resembling snow.~
A legend about the origin of the snowdrop tells us that after being expelled from the Garden of Eden, Eve sat weeping. An angel comforted her. Since the Fall, no flowers had bloomed, but snow fell ceaselessly. As the angel talked with Eve, he caught a snowflake in his hand, breathed on it, and it fell to earth as the first snowdrop. The flower bloomed and Hope was born. In Germany there is a different snowdrop legend. When God made all things on the Earth, He asked the snow to go to the flowers and get a little color from them. One by one the flowers refused. Then, very sad, she asked a snowdrop to give it a little of its colour and the snowdrop accepted. As a reward, the snow lets it bloom first whenever spring shows. 
Years ago snowdrops were dried and transported to European shops from Turkey. Monks brought snowdrop bulbs from Rome to England and were the first to plant them around old monasteries. Because of this snowdrops became known as the ~church flower.~ Traditionally on Candlemas (Feb.2) the image of the Virgin Mary was taken down and a handful of snowdrop blooms were scattered in its place. Their presence in churchyards generated an unlucky reputation as time went on. 
Every spring on March 1, the national Moldovan holiday, is celebrated. On this day people present each other with the traditional flowers. One of the old Moldovan legend says that once in a fight with the winter witch, that didn't want to give up its place, the beautiful lady Spring cut her finger and few drops of her blood fell on the snow, which melted. Soon on this place grew a snowdrop and in such a way the spring won the winter. 




Source: angelfire.com