Colorful and aromatic, the smell and sight of the Hyacinth is a sure sign that Spring is in full force. Though it is most commonly grown in gardens as an ornamental plant, this beautiful flower can also be grown indoors and is often given as a gift or scattered throughout bouquets. But what does it mean to give someone a Hyacinth? The symbolism behind this flower dates way back to Ancient Greek times. Let’s take a look.
The Hyacinth in History
The history of the Hyacinth dates back to 1560, when it was initially discovered in Turkey, Syria. Unfortunately, for many years, Hyacinths were so exclusive that very few people got to enjoy them. They weren’t discussed much again until they were mentioned in Greek Mythology.
With that being said, Hyacinths played a significant role in this mythology. According to the Ancient Greeks, two Gods, Apollo and Zephyr, were competing for the affections of a young man named Hyakinthos. One day, Apollo taught the young boy how to throw a discus. Enraged with jealousy, Zephyr blew a massive gust of wind at Apollo. But rather than harming Apollo, the wind grabbed onto the discus, hurling it towards Hyakinthos, and sending him to his demise.
After Hyakinthos’ death, a flower was raised from his blood. Named after the boy, Apollo called the flower the “Hyacinth.” And that’s where the Hyacinth got its name.
Given that the name “Hyacinth” grew from a Greek myth about jealousy and sadness, it’s no surprise that this is what the Hyacinth has come to represent—gifting someone a Hyacinth could mean that you are jealous of them or their success.
With that being said, some people don’t see the Hyacinth as a representation of the loss of Hyakinthos but as a representation of the God Apollo himself. In this sense, the Hyacinth can be seen as commitment, beauty, peace, and pride. They can also be seen as a symbol of love and happiness.
Hyacinth Color Symbolism
Of course, like many flowers, the exact symbolism of what they mean can vary depending on the color:
- The Yellow Hyacinth is the Hyacinth most often thought of to represent jealousy and sadness as represented in Greek mythology.
- The Blue Hyacinth is most often thought to represent constancy and sincerity.
- The White Hyacinth: Like most white flowers, the White Hyacinth symbolizes innocence and purity. It can also be given to someone to let them know that you pray for them.
- The Red Hyacinth represents love and passion.
- The Purple Hyacinth generally represents royalty and spirituality and can be given to someone as a sign of respect.
- The Pink Hyacinth represents joy and playfulness.
As you can see, the Hyacinth has a long history deeply rooted in Ancient Greek Mythology. Today, its symbolism of sorrow and sadness remains, making it a popular choice among funeral processions. With that being said, the Hyacinth can also take on other, more joyful meanings, making it a great choice as a gift or as decor throughout the home. Just be careful who you give a yellow hyacinth, as you don’t want to tell someone you’re jealous of them accidentally.