Easter Lily Lore
The beautiful white trumpets of the Lilium longiflorum or what we call the “Easter Lily” symbolize more than regal beauty. White lilies are said to symbolize purity, innocence and rebirth.
Biblical lore accounts for several meanings:
- Lilies were said to grow where Christ shed tears. Another account states lilies grew where Christ shed bead of sweat from carrying the cross.
- These plants are considered humble yet fruitful. Lilies are tall and seem to droop in humility yet are fruitful. One bulb can produce up to 50 plants.
- White is also the symbol of the Virgin Mary. Lore has it that upon Mary’s resurrection only lilies were found in the tomb.
It is said the trumpet shape of the lily symbolizes God calling His son home.
- Another saying attributed to scholars of the Thirteenth century, ‘To gild a lily is to attempt, foolishly, to improve on perfection.”
Caring for your Easter Lily
Keep your lily away from drafts and drying heat sources. Place it in indirect light with daytime temperatures of 65 to 75° F. Water it only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Be careful not to overwater. Extend the life of the blossoms by removing the yellow anthers (pollen-bearing pods) found in the center of each flower.
Easter lily bulbs can be planted outside after the blooms die off and the soil is workable in spring. Lilies need ample light and well-drained soil. Plant bulb to a depth of six inches from the top of the bulb. Trim off the dead flowers and keep the stem and leaves intact. Cut back in fall. Mulch and new growth should appear the following spring.
The following poem by Louise Lewin Matthews captures the spiritual essence of the Easter Lily:
Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.
-Louise Lewin Matthews