The language of flowers extends far back into history, with Victorians even sending secret messages to one another with small bouquets, called tuzzy-muzzies, given by suitors. Today, the symbolism continues, as flowers symbolize the new hope, new life and new beginnings of the Easter season.

Lilies

Perhaps the flower most closely associated with Easter, lilies represent purity and hope, along with symbolizing the resurrection. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus alludes to the beauty of the flowers, reminding his listeners that King Solomon, with all of his riches, was not dressed as beautifully as the lilies of the field.

Legend holds that lilies, sometimes called "white-robed apostles of hope," sprang from the ground where drops of Jesus' sweat fell to the ground during his final agony. Medieval artists used the blossoms to signify womanhood and purity in paintings of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was to be the mother of God. Folklore holds that visitors to the Virgin Mary's tomb found only a bed of lilies because her body went straight to heaven during the first three days after her death. Another legend says that lilies grew from Eve's tears of repentance when she left the Garden of Eden.

Easter lilies and Madonna lilies symbolize virtue, innocence, hope and life, while commemorating the resurrection of Christ and the hope of eternal life in heaven.

Tulips

White tulips stand for forgiveness, while the purple represent royalty. Both meanings fit well with the religious themes of Easter, as do the meanings of love, belief and passion associated with the blooms.

Azaleas

The showy blooms of azaleas represent temperance, or self-control. The plant also symbolizes womanhood, linking it to the Virgin Mary at Easter, while the colors of the flowers carry their own symbolism, with white standing for purity, purple for royalty and pink for joy.

Roses

The five petals of single roses are legendary symbols of the wounds of Jesus before and during his crucifixion. The red color represents the blood Christians believe Jesus shed for the forgiveness of sins, while white roses stand for purity and innocence.

Other Easter Flowers

Daisies represent the innocence of the Christ child, loyalty and gentleness, while baby's breath symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit. Faith, wisdom and hope find expression in the iris; hyacinths convey a message of peace of mind.