What does the Easter lily "mean"?
That's a good question, and a common one at Easter time.
The Easter lily symbolizes purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life.
Here's a brief history of the Easter lily...
The Easter lily has often been called the "white robed apostle of hope". It is also referenced in many biblical stories.
When Eve was banished from the Garden of Eden, she shed tears of repentance and from her tears sprang lilies.
The pure white Easter lily is also associated with motherhood. In early biblical paintings, the angel Gabriel is pictured extending a bunch of white lilies to the Virgin Mary announcing she was to be the mother of Jesus Christ.
The lily is also revered as it was found growing in the garden of Gethsemane after Christ's agony.
Renowned as a mark of purity and grace, the lily is the perfect symbol to represent Easter.
The Easter lily was imported to the U.S. in 1875 by a tourist who visited Japan. The lily grew in popularity, and by 1941 North American residents were importing lily bulbs in great quanties.
World War II ended the dependence on Japanese-produced bulbs. Commercial production then shifted to the United States.
Today over 95% of bulbs grown for potted Easter lilies are produced by 10 farms located in the coastal area near the California-Oregon border.
The bulbs are harvested in the fall, then packed and shipped to commercial greenhouses. There they planted in time to bloom for the Easter holiday. About 11.5 million Easter lily bulbs are shipped to commercial greenhouses every year.
Easter lilies comprise the fourth largest crop in the potted plant market, behind poinsettias, mums, and azaleas. An amazing feat for a plant that has a sales demand for 2 weeks out of the entire year.
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