To some cultures, flowers could bring a lot of meanings as each of them symbolizes something. When arranged together aesthetically, a collection of flowers is called a bouquet. It is usually used as a decoration in houses, offices, hotels, or to be carried. This flower arrangement is also considered a proper gift to be given on special occasions like birthday, anniversary, or well-wishing. Weddings almost always use handheld bouquets for the brides and they come in many shapes.
When you plan to give someone a bouquet, first you need to consider the culture surrounding the event and how the person sees it. In Russia, you can’t just give a bunch of flowers even if they are beautiful. You have to know the meaning of each flower you put in the arrangement. There are rules to follow when you arrange a bouquet in Russia.
The History of Bouquet
Before we go ahead to see the rules, here’s a brief history about bouquet for you. The ancient Egypt had the evidence of the oldest flower arrangement in a vase from around 2500 BCE. The flowers used at that time were sacred lotus, herbs, palms, anemones, narcissus, and irises. In Japan, the ancient practice of arranging flower – called Ikebana – is still a part of the daily life. The signature of this Japanese bouquet is the minimalism and linear form. While in Europe, Dutch was the first to be acquainted with bouquets since they had the earliest paintings of them.
Flower Bouquet Rules in Russia
Etiquette matters when it comes to arranging flowers in Russia. The people there love getting bouquets, and that means they know the dos and don’ts well about them. Flowers are close to the country’s heart and they are symbol of affection and attention. A bouquet can say a lot about how well a person knows the one they give it to. If you are not familiar with how things are done in Russia, these guides should help you if you plan to give flowers to a Russian soon:
1. Put odd number of flowers in a bouquet for joyful occasions like birthday, wedding, graduation, et cetera. Even number only applies for funeral, usually up to a dozen of flowers – but can be more.
2. Roses symbolize love in Russia, which is quite a general fact, but there are steps to it. When the relationship has only begun, white or off-white roses would be ideal to show a pure intention. As the connection grows, pink and red roses are allowed to get into the picture. Some Russian girls, however, think roses are superficial. For that case, choose field or exotic flowers instead.
3. Never give yellow roses to someone you love as the flower is considered to bring bad luck and may lead the relationship to a bad breakup. Yellow flowers also only appear on funerals and sympathy arrangements.
4. Do not give flowers in a pot unless you are really sure the person would love it. Some Russians don’t really like tending to houseplants and giving it to a young lady would mean you consider them look older than they look. Got to be careful there. But if you know the person adores houseplants, orchids, violets, or succulents may suit the intention well.
5. September 1st in Russia is the Knowledge Day or the first day in the beginning of a school year. Parents would usually bring flowers to school to be given to teachers. For this occasion, you can choose three gladiolus or five astras. Avoid lilies or flowers that may cause allergies.
6. Women in Russia don’t really celebrate Valentine ’s Day, but they are always up for the International Women’s Day on March 8th. For this occasion, you can present your lady a bouquet of tulips. Chrysanthemums should be crossed from the list as they are related to the Soviet past.
7. Make your bouquet look classy. Use as little plastic as possible, which means it would be nicer for you to use cloth ribbons and gift paper wrappers. Accompany your flowers with a bottle of wine or a box of chocolate for plus points.
8. Generally, in Russia, men give their ladies flowers. But this doesn’t mean that Russian men don’t like getting flowers or it is forbidden. Go ahead and present your man a manly bouquet with large and dark flowers in it.
9. Red poppies are supposed to be avoided in bouquets because they are too soft and tend to lose petals easily. This symbolizes weakness and fleeting hope. The seeds, in contrary, are said to bring happiness and fertility.
10. Because Russians say almost everything with flowers, there are different arrangement for every expression like congratulations, I’m sorry, thank you, I love you, good luck, get well, sympathy, and many more. Each use specific flowers and you should be careful with them. Florists would definitely help you with these, so don’t worry.
11. Sending a bouquet to welcome a newborn should be done after the baby presents in the world. A little earlier than that would be considered as a bad luck for the mother getting ready to give birth. Keep in mind to send safe sorts of flowers that will not cause allergies both to the mother and newborn baby.
12. Christmas in not widely or hugely celebrated in Russia, so people don’t really use the occasion to send flowers to each other during this time of the year. But if you decide to do so, please don’t send or give wreaths because they are arrangements for funeral. People in other countries may love flowers in a circle, but not in Russia.
As you have read, Russians love flowers. They love giving and getting them. If you are new to this custom, the 12 rules of flower arrangement in Russia above should at least give you a clue of how to do the bouquet-giving right. Say it with flower, now.