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Carnation 101: The Carnation Flower & Their Meanings In Different Parts Of The World

Here is a little tribute to the delicate yet beautifully timeless carnation flower, one of the world’s oldest cultivated flowers, and the second most popular flower after roses. It is believed to have been around since ancient times with numerous myths and history behind it.

The scientific name for carnations is Dianthus Caryophyllus of the Dianthus species. Dianthus, which means “Flower of Gods” is derived from the Greek words “dios”, which translates as “god” and “anthos” which means “flower”. It also roughly translates as “flower of love”, which is truly befitting for a carnation indeed.


The carnation flower symbolizes Love, Captivation and Distinction and today, it’s no wonder that it’s so widely used and is the best alternative to rose bouquets. It also makes a lovely addition to any bunch because of its long-lasting freshness and fragrance.

However, each colour of the carnation has its own special meaning, especially in different parts of the world. So, let’s dive into the various representations and symbols of the carnation flower, shall we?



The Meaning Behind the Different Colors of the Carnation Flower


White Carnation

In the past, white carnations symbolized pure love, somewhat similar to a mother’s love. White carnations are also deemed the official flower for Mother’s Day by the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis. 

During ancient Greek ceremonies, they are used as bridal flowers to wish them a bright future ahead for the married couple. White carnations are also a sign of loyalty and faithfulness, representing the couple’s devotion to each other. 


Aside from that, white carnations signify innocence, purity, genuineness and simplicity. It’ll be a great gift for someone who is a sensitive soul or seems to be a child at heart (that’s why they seem so pure)!  Moreover, it’s historically used as a good luck gift for women! Since it’s a symbol of good luck and prosperity, you can gift someone white carnations if they just graduated or started a new journey in life.

In the Netherlands, the white carnation is worn in remembrance of the country’s war veterans and resistance to World War II.



Red Carnation

A rich red carnation symbolizes deep love and affection, while a pale red carnation represents admiration and the words, “my heart aches for you”. It is said that the deep red petals of the red carnation represent a beating heart that is filled with love too! 


Other than that, red carnations are also a symbol of passion and distinction! While passion involves being passionate about something, distinction means someone who stands out among the crowd and captures everyone’s attention! 

Did you also know that the red carnation is also the official state flower of Ohio, USA? This idea has been adopted as such since 1904 and was chosen by the legislature of Ohio to honor President William McKinley who was assassinated back in 1901. This is because the late president liked to wear a red carnation on the lapel of his jacket.



Pink Carnation

The pink carnation is often given as a symbol of heartfelt gratitude to say, “Thank you” and also “I will never forget you”.

Light pink carnations represent love and gratitude that are similar to a Mother. Dark pink carnations, however, were traditionally gifted to a loved one on a first date as it symbolizes fondness and expresses sentiments of blooming love.



Purple Carnation

A bright purple carnation has a few varied meanings. Commonly, it symbolizes capriciousness, or unpredictability, which we feel is perfect for loved ones who are adventurous and have a wild and free spirit. Others have even associated purple carnations with success and wealth.

However, in France, the purple carnation flowers are often given in condolences for a loved one’s death at funerals and are said to be the traditional flower for the occasion.

Besides that, purple carnations are also said to be a heartfelt sentiment to offer when saying “I’m sorry”.



Yellow Carnation

Unlike the other colors of the carnation flower, a yellow carnation expresses a more sad sentiment and portrays the idea of rejection or disappointment towards someone.

Back in the day, it was said that offering someone yellow carnations meant that you are breaking up with them or rejecting their love.

Nevertheless, these bright and not-easy-to-ignore flowers are no doubt a beauty, especially with the name “Golden Sun”, how could it possibly be a sentiment of sadness and regret?



Striped Carnation

Back in the day, carnation flowers were used as means to communicate one's love and affection. While solid colors of the carnation flowers mean an affirmative “yes”, giving a striped carnation means a refusal or “no”.



Unique Fun Facts About Carnations

Children in Korea widely present their parents with carnations on Parent’s Day, a day when both mothers and fathers are celebrated together. Carnations are also regularly found in Mother’s Day bouquets. Traditionally, the carnation is also gifted to those who are celebrating their first wedding anniversary and is also known as the birth flower for the month of January. 


All in all, the carnation bloom is nothing short of wonderful and has proven to have created #ReasonsToSmile even through the ages. 

Check out our latest collection of Carnation bunches featuring a wide variety of gorgeous designs! 



Show your love with these beautiful carnation bouquets

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