Meaning of Wreaths

Wreaths are often more than just a simple decoration.

Wreaths are often more than just a simple decoration.

Wreaths have a long history dating back to the ancient world. The meaning of wreaths has varied over time and may still differ depending upon the context -- from a mourning wreath to an Advent wreath. Today, we use wreaths as a symbol of mourning, a holiday decoration or simply as a home accent.

Mourning Wreaths

During Victorian times, a wreath of laurel, yew or boxwood tied with black crepe or ribbons was hung on the front door to signify a death had occurred within the family. Funeral wreaths remain a part of today's mourning tradition, but today's wreaths are intended as a celebration of life, rather than a notification of death. White flowers are a classic choice for a funeral wreath, but you can also opt for a wreath embellished with the deceased favorite color or blossoms. ProFlowers offers a wide variety of memorial wreaths that can be delivered to the family or funeral home.

Advent Wreaths

The Advent wreath is a circlet of evergreens, like holly, laurel or pine found in many Catholic homes. While many wreaths are hung, the Advent wreath sits on a table or another surface. Four candles are placed in the wreath, one to symbolize each week of Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas. One candle is lit each Sunday in Advent.

Victory and Celebration

Historically, the first wreaths were diadems worn on the head. These crowns of laurel or another evergreen marked victory in games, like the early Olympic games. By Roman times, wreaths were hung to celebrate victories of all sorts. The custom of using wreaths for decoration may have originated in this Roman tradition.

Christmas Wreaths

Evergreen Christmas wreaths have been a part of holiday celebrations since the early 19th century. Wreaths were either purchased from florists or made at home. The evergreens represented life, while the red ribbons and ornaments symbolized Christ's sacrifice. Today, Christmas wreaths are hung after Thanksgiving and may remain up throughout the winter months.

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