Daffodil Symbolism

Western Symbolism

The daffodil carries a lot of symbolism. This flower plays a part in mythology and religion, as well as in popular culture.

Daffodils represent spring and are highly associated with Easter in the Western Culture.

The daffodil flower symbolizes death, resurrection, new life, hope, new beginnings and vanity.

Daffodil is the common name for Narcissus. The Narcissus belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family of flowers. The bulb is very toxic; pets owners beware.

daffodil symbolism

Chinese Daffodil Symbolism

In Chinese symbolism this flower is purely positive. This flower symbolizes lots a good luck and hope for a prosperous year to come.

These flowers are popular during the Chinese New Year.  They represent the hope and wishes for good fortune and wealth in the coming year.

Daffodils are especially auspicious for those seeking a prosperous career.

If you suspect you have hidden talents, superstition advices you to have daffodils in your home or office. They just might send out the vibes you need to discover what you’re good at doing.

In any case a bouquet of daffodils is a wonderful gift to give someone. It signalizes that you only wish them the best of luck and success.

The Birth Flower of March

Birth flower March

The daffodil is the birth flower for all of you born in March. This flower brings the promise of spring and the warmth of the sun.

It is in this context pure and true love. It brings with it hope and happiness and a promise of a great future.

The Easter Flower

Easter daffodils

Daffodils are very much associated with Easter. This flower symbolizes spring and new life.

In the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) the name of the yellow daffodil is “Easter Lily”. In Norwegian it is Påskelilje. “Påske” means Easter. In Swedish it is “Påskelija” and in Danish the daffodil is called “Påskelilje” (the same as in Norwegian).

In Germany they are also known as “Osterglocke” which means Easter Bell.

It is common to decorate with daffodils during Easter. Easter cards often show illustrations of daffodils.

How Narcissus (Daffodil) got its name

Echo And Narcissus John William Waterhouse
Echo And Narcissus (1903) By John William Waterhouse

This story is from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a young man who was extremely good-looking. His father was the river god named Cephissus. His mother was a water-nymph named Liriope.

Women and men alike turned their heads to admirer this beautiful boy wherever he went. Narcissus took no notice of other people. He was extremely conceited. This young man had no sympathy for others and couldn’t care at all what others said or felt. 

As it happened a mountain nymph named Echo fell madly in love with Narcissus. Unfortunately Echo had a handicap, she was only able to repeat the last words that someone else spoke. She couldn’t start a conversation nor speak a complete sentence.

Echo followed Narcissus around and tried to the best of her ability to show the young man how much she loved him.

Narcissus only got mad and rejected her. Echo was brokenhearted. She lost her will to live and slowly she faded away until the only thing left of her was her voice.

Narcissus falls in love with himself

Life went on for Narcissus. He got more and more involved with himself. One day he sat down by a pond in the forest. Looking down into the water he saw his own reflection. He was amazed and for the first time the young man fell madly in love.

Narcissus was obsessed by his own reflection and couldn’t bring himself to leave the pond.

He was so in love with himself that he stopped eating and drinking and could think of nothing else than how extraordinary he was. He refused to budge from the pond.

He withered away and died. In another version of the story, he fell into the pond and drowned. By the pond where he died a beautiful new flower grew. The flower was the Narcissus.

Narcissus is also remembered in the world of psychology with the term “narcissistic”. To accuse someone of being narcissistic is to insinuate that they are highly egocentric.

Daffodil Symbolism: Persephone and Hades

In Greek mythology Hades was the god of the Underworld and Persephone was his Queen. Persephone didn’t become Queen of the Underworld by her own free will.

Persephone was as a young woman just called Core, which means “The maiden”. She was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.

One sunny day Core (Persephone) was out picking daffodils and violets when she was kidnapped by Hades and forced down to the Underworld.

Demeter was heartbroken and searched all over for her missing daughter. When she finally learned the truth, she was devastated.

Demeter begged her brother Zeus to help her get their daughter back.

Zeus was the father of Persephone, but Demeter had raised her as a single mother. What Demeter didn’t know was that Zeus had promised his brother Hades that Persephone would be his wife.

The situation was critical. All the plants on earth had stopped growing after Persephone was kidnapped.

Persephone returns to her mother

Demeter rejoiced for her daughters return

After long and hard negotiations, Hades agreed that Persephone could return to the land of the living six months every year.

She was obligated to return to the Underworld, land of the dead because she had eaten pomegranate seeds given to her by Hades.

The rule was that only those who never ate nor drank in the Underworld had a chance of returning permanently to the land of the living.

Every year plants stopped growing all the time Persephone was with Hades.

As soon as Persephone returned to her mother in the land of the living all plants started growing again. This was how the different seasons were explained.

Daffodils were to become sacred to Persephone and Hades of the Underworld. In Greek mythology these flowers grew by the banks of the river Styx.

The river Styx was the river that separated the land of the living and the land of the dead.

The daffodils were some of the first flowers to bloom every year upon Persephone’s return. So naturally daffodils also became a symbol of new life.

The National Flower of Wales

The daffodil is the National flower of Wales. These flowers are seen everywhere on Saint David’s Day on March 1st. This is an important celebration in Wales, United Kingdom.

Saint David is the patron Saint of Wales. He lived during the 6th century. David is known for many miracles, among them healing his blind teacher.

The most famous miracle connected to Saint David is the story of how a small hill miraculously appeared. David was preaching to a huge crowd. Many could neither see nor hear him.

Suddenly a white dove landed on his shoulder and the ground under him rose to form a tiny hill. The problem was solved.

On March 1st Wales celebrates Saint David Day and daffodils being their beloved national flower is highly represented. Another plant seen often is the leek.

A legend tells the story of how the Welch were losing the battle with the Saxons because they couldn’t tell who was their enemy on the chaotic battle field.

Saint David instructed the Welsch to wear a piece of leek on their helmets, thus not accidently killing one of their own. 

Daffodil Superstitions

In England there was an old superstition that you should never bring daffodils into the farmhouse while the geese were still hatching. There would be no goslings.

Likewise, they believed that binging these flowers into a room that hens were hatching only meant no chickens would see the light of day.

In Wales, United Kingdom, there was an old superstition that whoever found the first wild daffodil would be blessed with a gift of gold or good fortune.

Never bring a single daffodil into your home, that is bad luck. Thus, bringing a bouquet of daffodils into your home is very good luck.

Daffodil Poem

Daffodil Poem

Daffodils (1802) By: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

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