Forget Me Not Flower Meaning and Symbolism

The Forget Me Not is a beautifully petite flower that comes in quite a few colors, and they have the benefit of both being a perennial and being able to scatter an abundance of seeds, creating seas of blues, whites, pinks and purples. 

They can spring up in the unlikeliest of spaces, where you wouldn’t imagine such a small flower would be able to grow, but they will continue to surprise you.

The flowers also have a lot of symbolism, both in the present day and throughout history.

What Does The Name Forget-Me-Not Mean?

The scientific name of the forget-me-not, Myosotis, translates as “mouse’s ear”, referring to the tiny bloom which is about the same size. 

The name Forget-Me-Not is a literal translation from the German and French phrase. 

The original phrase was said to come from a 15th century legend.  A knight (and depending on who is telling the story, the knight is French, or German) in his full armor picked these lovely flowers for his lady where they grew next to the river bank. 

Unfortunately, he slipped. He threw the flowers to his lady, and yelled, “Forget Me Not!” In one version, he is swept away by the current. In another, his heavy armor weighed him down and drowned him.

That might sound odd, but armor back then was very difficult to put on and remove – it usually required more than one person to help someone in and out of armor. So to take it off a drowning person – well, it would have been impossible. 

That’s one tragic meaning of this lovely little flower. There’s a few more, but we’ll get to that. 

What does the Forget Me Not Flower Mean?

Forget-Me-Nots are most commonly used to symbolize remembrance, as the name and the above story suggests. Not just for a loved one who has passed on, but given as a parting gift. 

These blooms also represent an enduring love, which carries on despite time and all obstacles, loyalty, and friendship. 

Forget-Me-Nots are also a symbol for those caring for or suffering from diseases that affect the memory, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 

What does a Purple Forget Me Not Signify?

The purple forget-me-not is a symbol for the Armenian Genocide, to remember the people who died, and the families left without their loved ones. The purple forget-me-not symbol was created for the 100th anniversary. 

What does a White Forget Me Not Mean?

White forget-me-nots also stand for remembrance, as well as charity and empathy.

What does a Pink Forget Me Not Suggest?

Pink forget-me-nots signify love and affection, usually the bond between two romantic partners.

What is the Cultural Significance behind the Forget Me Not?

Henry of Lancaster, who was born in 1367, was banished in 1398 after a heated argument with the first Duke of Norfolk, Thomas de Mowbray. He had attempted to duel with him, and for that, his cousin, Richard II, the then king, cast him out.

It’s probably worth mentioning that Henry was the third surviving son of Edward III, and Henry did join a group of opposition leaders, and helped banish some of Richard’s closest advisers. 

Henry adopted the flower as a symbol, and it was sewn into his knight’s collar. His supporters also wore the flower as support. King Richard took all of Henry’s father’s estates, and Henry invaded England. He was crowned in 1399. 

The flower was also adopted as a symbol of the Freemasons in 1926. In 1938, the Nazi party used it as a symbol of their welfare branch, which helped the Freemasons continue to use the flower as a symbol as it could get confused. 

It wasn’t until 1948 that the Freemasons used the symbol again at an annual convention, and ever since it’s been worn as remembrance for those Freemasons who have been persecuted.

What Does a Forget Me Not Tattoo Mean?

Forget-me-not tattoos are traditionally a symbol of remembrance, hope, or love. It’s one of the more popular flowers used in tattoos, because of its beauty as well as its concrete symbolism.

It’s also used to remember a special time, event, or person in your life, one that’s changed your life in one way or another. It’s used as a symbol to never forget what’s most important to you in the world. 

When Should You Give Someone Forget Me Nots?

Forget-me-nots are appropriate for a range of occasions, though they’re most often given in remembrance of someone who has died. 

They’re also a good reminder that you’re there for someone in their time of need, or simply because you want to brighten their day. 

They’re also a symbol of trust and an unbreakable connection between you, and a promise that you’ll never forget them, no matter how tough things get. 

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