Toussaint Why chrysanthemums symbolize death in France 2022

Toussaint Why chrysanthemums symbolize death in France 2022

The chrysanthemum is a flower that represents many values: death as is the case in Spain because it is linked to the All Saints festival. It is associated with joy in the US, it means wisdom in China and a declaration of love in Mexico.

Originally, chrysanthemums were only yellow, a color that gave this “golden flower” its name, whose etymology comes from the Greek anthemion, “flower,” and Crusoe, gold.

Introduced to Europe in 1789, French botanist explorer Pierre Blancard (1741-1826), this plant Asteraceae family grew wild in China, Korea, Japan.

The plant has been revered throughout Asia, more than 2,500 years; it has been a symbol of peace, luck, courage, steadfastness, and long peaceful life in China.

In this country, the chrysanthemum, “jú huā” (Jiuhua), is one of four “noble plants” along prunus mune the orchid, bamboo, each symbolizing a season.

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The hairy flower

Able to face the first cold, the chrysanthemum, flower of the ninth moon or moon of October, is associated with autumn, the time of its exuberant flowering.

It is also the ninth Day ninth lunar month, the Day “double nine” or “chrysanthemum festival,” also called Chongyang festival, where the flower is found everywhere, in vases, cakes, salads, even wine. Chrysanthemum. The most widespread custom is to carry a flower that is believed to prolong life.

If the chrysanthemum was present in France since the 18th century, it became the flower of All Saints until the end of the First World War.

One year after the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, Raymond Poincaré, President of the Republic, wished that all French people could celebrate his death and celebrate the end of the war by going to the flower graves.

The ideal plant is the chrysanthemum, abundantly cultivated, resistant to cold, and requiring little care.

Plant of the dead, plant of love

The perennial plant, grown in many French gardens, will quickly establish itself as the Day of the Dead symbol. Here in Belgium, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Spain.

On the other hand, in the rest world, the chrysanthemum has continued to be a flower synonymous with happiness or joy, as in Holland, where it is used in the composition of wedding bouquets, or in Great Britain, United States, where it is found. Synonymous with love, serenity, and peace.

In Australia, children give chrysanthemums for Mother’sMother’s Day, the plant that means “I love you” in the language of flowers.

The emblem of Japan is a symbol of happiness and the emblem of the royal family; thanks to its virtues, it is supposed to make life more beautiful and longer, but it also symbolizes the gift of oneself pushed to death to defend cult imperial.

Toussaint Why chrysanthemums symbolize death in France 2022

Many varieties

Over the centuries, many crosses have produced chrysanthemums of all colors, shapes, sizes. There are currently more than 3,000 varieties that bloom from June until frost.

In October and November, chrysanthemums represented 90% of flower sales, equivalent to 30 million flowers sold in France and a turnover of 290 million euros. It can represent around 20% of the annual turnover, with 95.6% of the plants destined for cemeteries.

However, tastes are changing, and chrysanthemums increasingly compete with other species which are less evocative of death.

The other flowers of mourning

When it comes to funerals or decorating a burial, there are many varieties of flowers that carry messages of love. 

The most symbolic is the mourning rose, called by many florists. The Last farewell rose or rose of memory, synonymous with the absolute love that unites people. A choice full of emotion and a very personal message, often the privilege of the duel between spouses

 Family members and loved ones often choose flowers that express some intimacy with the deceased, such as lilies, orchids, carnations. White lilies, white roses, daisies, symbols of innocence and purity, will adorn the grave of a child who has left too early. Many other flowers can place on a grave; it is still necessary to know the messages that each carries.

White azaleas bear witness to the joy of having loved and dahlias to gratitude. The anemone expresses sadness, just like soap, grass, and aloe. The peony drives away evil spirits, while the hydrangeas and begonias carry a beautiful message of friendship. The most intense eternal pain that the immortal says remains.

To decorate the grave with plants resistant to cold and autumn rains, we can think of carnations, white or red, but also of certain more ornamental plants such as cyclamen or heather. 

Over time, perennials, annual vines, or even ground covers planted in a pot remain the best option for decorating a grave with minimal maintenance.

Daisy types

  • Marigold
  • Dahlia
  • Aster
  • Crown daisy
  • Common daisy
  • Transvaal daisy
  • Yarrow

Fall flowering plants

  • Sweet autumn clematis
  • Japanese anemone
  • New York aster
  • Aster

Six flowers (that are not marigolds) associated with death and their meaning

It is normal that with the arrival of the Day of the Dead, we feel a bit of nostalgia for our deceased relatives. However, in Mexico, we are used to giving a very special meaning to the marigold flower or flower of the dead. Today we are going to share other flowers associated with death.

1. Chrysanthemums

La Toussaint, or Day of the Dead, is commemorated (November 1). On this date, the deceased are honored with prayers, and flowers, such as chrysanthemums, are brought to cemeteries. In Spain, they are offered as a symbol of respect and eternity.

2. Lilies

In the mourning processes, they represent the innocence that the deceased recover in their soul. It is also a symbol of purity wisdom.

3. Roses

These beautiful flowers symbolize purity, hope, and promise in heaven at a funeral. They are a symbol of a new beginning and offer condolences to the relatives of the deceased.

Toussaint Why chrysanthemums symbolize death in France 2022
Toussaint Why chrysanthemums symbolize death in France 2022

4. Carnations

They are a symbol of condolences to the relatives of a deceased. They signify pride and union, so they are used to pay respect to people with very close ties, but like chrysanthemums, their meaning changes slightly depending on the color of each flower.

5. Coves or gannets

They are offered at funerals as recognition and sympathy for the deceased. In ancient Rome Greece, they were associated festivities due to their similarity to drinking glasses. They represent beauty and fortune.

6. Lycoris Radiata

This flower of Japanese origin is traditionally associated with death to transition to a new life, which is why it is very present in cemeteries in the Japanese nation. It is known as the flower of hell since it gives souls the last chance to see their past life.


We tell you the beautiful love story behind this traditional flower.

Are chrysanthemums the flower of death?

The chrysanthemum became associated with death rather than life in European cultures because of its prevalent use as gravesite decoration. In the U.S. it has grown in popularity since its introduction in the colonial period. It is now commonly referred to as “the Queen of fall flowers”

What does the chrysanthemum symbolize?

In Asia the chrysanthemum signifies life and rebirth, making them great gifts for birthdays and baby showers. … A white chrysanthemum is a symbol of loyalty and devoted love. In general, chrysanthemums are believed to represent happiness, love, longevity and joy.

Why is chrysanthemum poisonous?

All parts of the chrysanthemum plant are potentially harmful if ingested by mammals, especially the flower heads. … The plants contain a natural insecticide called pyrethrin, which, if consumed, can be toxic to dogs, cats, horses and even children. Pyrethrin has been registered for use in pesticides since the 1950s.

What are the benefits of chrysanthemum?

Chrysanthemum is used to treat chest pain (angina), high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, fever, cold, headache, dizziness, and swelling. In combination with other herbs, chrysanthemum is also used to treat prostate cancer. As a beverage, chrysanthemum is very popular as a summertime tea in southern China.

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Toussaint Why chrysanthemums symbolize death in France 2022

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