This month, for October, the birth flower is a marigold! We absolutely love this beautiful and vital flower with bright oranges and yellows, however, it may surprise you to know marigolds are traditionally associated with death and mourning! October babies, have a read to understand the history and tradition assigned to the beautiful marigold flower.
History of the Marigold Flower
Marigold’s were originally known as calendula flowers, so named by the ancient Romans because the flower blooms in the early morning and closes in the early evening and calendula or calendulae has the meaning of ‘little calendar’ or ‘little weathervane’.
Later on, the flower was renamed to the marigold or ‘Mary’s Gold’ by early Christians. It was considered a sacred flower and garlands of ‘Mary’s Gold’ were strung around the necks of holy saint statutes and were particularly used to decorate statues of the Virgin Mary (a representation of the sun and stars surrounding her).
Marigolds have also traditionally been associated with ‘The Day of the Dead’ (Dia de Los Muertos) in Mexico. You may have seen in the recent Disney Pixar film ‘Coco’ vibrant marigold flowers were a prominent theme of the movie. Day of the Dead family altars either will include paper cut marigolds or fresh marigold decorations.
Modern Uses Of Marigolds
Today marigold’s are still used in modern culture. Some use it as cuisine spice and decoration (giving it the name ‘pot marigold’ for its use in the cooking pot), others use calendula for medicinal purposes. The flower can be used for headaches, toothaches and to reduce menstrual cramps! Many modern day lip balms use calendula as a solution for chapped lips! The flower is also commonly used in third world countries as well as brilliant dyes for fabrics, cosmetics and food.
- Marigolds come in a number of varieties, shapes and colours including calendula, crackerjack, African, and tagetes.
- The marigolds vibrant colour is caused by carotenoids. These carotenoids may also provide positive health benefits such as lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease.
- The marigold’s strong scent makes it a natural insect repellent so plant some in your garden if you want to keep the mosquitoes at bay!