No lays so joyous as these are warbled
From wiry prison in maiden’s bower;
No pampered bloom of the green-house chamber
Has half the charm of the lawn’s first flower.
— from An Invitation to the Country, by William Cullen Bryant
We continue celebrating Thalia, the daughter of Zeus who represents rejoicing, flowering and growth. Certainly, as Spring progresses in the northern hemisphere, now is Her time! Thalia’s gifts include the blossoming of flowers, the leafing of the woodlands, and the joyful awakening of life in all things.
According to the wise grandmothers, daffodils are symbols of love reborn, as they are some of the earliest flowers to rise up in our perennial gardens. They represent the highest qualities of love, respect, and honor, and were carried by knights and other gentlemen of valor. They have symbolized the rebirth of the Sun for thousands of years.
With today being “tax day” in America, when annual income tax returns are due, it might be helpful to know that gathering the first open daffodil is said to bring financial luck for the coming year if, while plucking it, you say:
Bring gold and silver the whole year to me!
But don’t only bring it inside solo. It is also said that you must have at least three, or your luck will turn sour.
Our grandmothers may have known them as jonquils and our mothers more commonly called them daffodils, and in my childhood, we sometimes called them daffo-down-dillies, but the horticultural texts call them narcissus.
Whatever you prefer to call them, according to gardening historians, they are believed to have been brought to Britain by the Romans, who mistakenly believed that the sap could heal wounds. In fact, however, daffodil sap contains sharp crystals that prevent animals from eating the flower, making it ideal for those of us who are struggling with overpopulations of deer. So while it did little to heal the Romans’ wounds, it probably succeeded in further irritating their skin!
Daffodils are said to bring good fortune to the person who avoids trampling on them. This could be because they are believed to be beloved of the Good People who live in the garden.
Lest they bring unhappy vanity to the bride, daffodils should never be present at a wedding. While the Victorians used daffodils in their language of flowers to say, “My fond hopes have been dashed by your behavior,” or unrequited love, they can also mean, “The sun is always shining when I’m with you.”