Tulip Flower Meaning And Symbolism

Tulips are hailed as one of the first signs of spring, celebrating the warmer temperatures and the hint of longer days, which many people associate with relief and happiness of a new year.

Tulips are grown all over the world, and we’ve managed to breed them to even take the shape of other flowers, so it’s not surprising that they’ve collected a lot of symbolism along the way. 

Behind The Name: What Does ‘Tulip’ Mean?

The word ‘tulip’ is believed to come from the Persian word for turban, delband, which vaguely resembles the flower’s appearance.

The tulip belongs to the lily plant family, Liliaceae, within the Tulipa genus. 

These striking plants are so easy to hybridize, with thousands of modern hybrids and cultivars, that the original species are now known as botanical tulips, to make sure they don’t get confused.

The Symbolism Surrounding Tulips

There’s a tulip for every kind of garden, whether you like the classic, botanical tulips, or if you prefer, the more modern types which look like other flowers, such as the peony tulip, the parrot tulip, or the Queensland tulip.

Whichever you choose, tulips are surrounded by symbolism which is largely dictated by the color of the bloom, though there is some general symbolism, too.

Tulips represent good fortune, incredible wealth, losing your head in a fit of passion, fiery desire, and romantic love. 

Pink Tulip Symbolism

Pink tulips are a message that you care. They represent how you wish someone only the best, as well as holding a lot of affection towards someone. They are also used to celebrate birthdays, good fortune, and hard work.

White Tulip Meaning

White tulips encompass forgiveness, grace, empathy, and remembrance.

Red Tulip Significance

Red tulips symbolize romantic love, and an all-encompassing desire and devotion.

Yellow Tulip Symbolism

Yellow tulips often signify platonic affection and joy, but depending on who you speak to, they can also represent unrequited love or regret, so be careful when giving yellow tulips as a gift!

Purple Tulip Meaning

Purple tulips indicate that you think the recipient is the most special person you know. Purple in flowers is linked to nobility, wealth, and prosperity.

What is the Cultural Significance Behind the Tulip?

During the 15th century, while tulips had some popularity before, their significance really took off. The Ottomans adopted the flower as their symbol, and it became the most prized flower available, becoming a cornerstone of art, religion and poetry.

In the 16th century, these gorgeous blooms attracted the attention of the West when diplomats visited the Ottoman court. The Ottomans agreed to trade, and the result was very interesting.

Once they were introduced into Europe, this caused Tulip Mania, where the price rose to match demand, with bulbs costing more than land, and easily 10 times what a working-class person could hope to earn in a single year.

In the 17th century, whole properties could be exchanged for a single tulip bulb, which outlines just what kind of emotion these flowers can instill in people.

Tulips are also known for genetically reinventing themselves to survive. 

The Ottomans believed that nature held the tulip as its favorite flower, as the sheer range and adaptability is staggering, even or especially without the help of humans. When fashions changed, and different requirements or trends emerged, the tulips changed to adapt to this, and to take advantage of it.

What does a Tulip Flower Tattoo Mean?

Tulips are usually chosen for tattoos for their aesthetic beauty, which shouldn’t be discounted, especially if you take into consideration how these striking flowers have encouraged a collective mania, not just once, but several times throughout history.

Tulips are also a great subject for tattoos to signify beauty, love, hope for the future, and to celebrate pivotal moments in life.

The Best Time to Give Someone Tulips

Tulips are perfect for any occasion, provided that you choose the right color tulip to correspond with the message you’d like to give to someone. 

They are suitable for spring birthdays, when these flowers are at their best, or to celebrate achievements, weddings, or other happy occasions. 

They are also perfect for conveying your deepest feelings for someone, especially when you take into account their history.

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