It’s the ninth day of the ninth month on the Chinese lunar calendar and that means it’s time to celebrate Chrysanthemum Day.
According to Feng Shui expert Gywnne Warner “revered for its simple and perfect beauty and medicinal properties, the gorgeous and highly regarded yellow or golden chrysanthemum is both rich in color and symbolism of long life and enduring luck, love and success. Because it blooms out of autumn and right into the season of winter, it also symbolizes the mediation between Life and Death and Heaven and Earth.”
I’m pretty much of an equal-opportunity flower lover so it’s safe to say chrysanthemums are on my favorite list. They also happen to be the official flower of Chicago, which I think is fun. And while it’s probably more traditional to use yellow chrysanthemums today, I’m partial to purple so those are what I’ve gathered for my bouquets.
Cultivated by the Chinese more than 2500 years ago, there are now 13 classes of the flower and hundreds of varieties. A peek at this page of the National Chrysanthemum Society offers pictures of the differing classes.
Chrysanthemums are considered one of the Four Noble Ones, which additionally include orchid, bamboo, and plum blossom. They also are highly revered in Japan as well, being named as their official national flower in 910 CE. Considered to be a sun symbol, the Japanese also consider the way in which the flower opens its petals to represent perfection.
In the Victorian floriography, the language of flowers, chrysanthemums mean Trust.
To celebrate today besides getting some chrysanthemums for yourself, your altar, or to give to someone else, you might want to drink chrysanthemum tea. While you can make your own – there are all kinds of recipes a google away, unless you’re sure you’re using organic flowers, I’d opt for a purchased blend. The Japanese drink a chrysanthemum wine also. And the flower is used medicinally as well as eaten.
I found a lovely little video with Fiona Tinwei Lamas reciting her poem about chrysanthemums. The video contains some lovely Chinese art as well.
And here’s another video from Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania which discusses and displays the art form of 1000 Chrysanthemums.
Just to round things out, here’s a photo of a chrysanthemum stone, so named because they have patterns that are often suggestive of the flower. I’m putting this on my altar today as well.
Wishing you an auspicious and happy Chrysanthemum Day! May you bloom through the autumn and be a joy to all that see you.