Farmers Almanac
The Farmers Almanac
Order your copy today!

January Flower Lore: Carnations

January Flower Lore: Carnations

Flowers, perhaps more than any other part of the natural world, are fascinating because of the many layers of meaning people have shrouded them in throughout history.

There is a whole sub-category of etiquette surrounding which flowers are appropriate to give at what times, and to whom. The unending rules surrounding something so simple as a flower can be dizzying.

Another aspect of flower lore concerns the designated flowers for each month of the year. January’s official flower is the carnation.

What Are Carnations?

Carnations are a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. Carnation stems can grow to be at much as 30 inches tall, and the flowers are 2-3 inches wide with a large number of sweet smelling petals. Their natural color is a bright pinkish-purple, but other colors have been cultivated, including red, white, yellow, and green. Their formal name, dianthus, comes from Greek for “heavenly flower.”

Carnations are said to be primarily a symbol of love, though the meaning can differ depending on the color. In France, carnations are the traditional funeral flower, and are it is considered bad luck to give them for any other occasion.

The leaves of carnations were once mixed with wine to control fevers, while the flowers were believed to be an effective antidote some poisons. The plant was also once popularly used to add flavor to beer and wine.

Carnation Legends and Lore

One legend about the origin of carnations states that the plants sprang up from the tears of the Virgin Mary as she watched Jesus carrying his cross to Calvary. This is probably why pink carnations are, to this day, the symbol of motherly love.

Weigh In:

Do carnations get a bad rap? Tell us in the comments below.

Shop for Related Products on Amazon

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Previous / Next Posts

  • Elaine says:

    I love love carnations! Not only are they beautiful, they’re strong and true! They remind me of true love, you can always count on them, and never leave any doubt as to what you’re getting!

  • Cheryl Centenio says:

    Carnations are beautiful and especially paired with other flowers such as roses. I love the carnation’s fragrance.

  • fran says:

    I love them ,they are so beautiful.

  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

    Reading Farmers' Almanac on Tablet with Doggie

    Don't Miss A Thing!

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter and Get a FREE Download!