What Do Red Carnations Symbolize?

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What Do Red Carnations Symbolize?
What Do Red Carnations Symbolize? (Photo by: Creative Commons - www.flickr.com/ photos/ rajivktimes/ 2986583242/)

Carnations have been around for several thousand years and many people believe each color is symbolic. Because some colors represent love, affection and devotion, the popularity of carnations is comparable to the rose. Many Christians believe that the first carnation bloomed moments before Jesus Christ's death on the cross and is a symbol of the sins of the world.

Scientific Name

To begin dissecting the meaning of red carnations, one should begin with the scientific name of carnations, which is Dianthus carophyllus. Translated, the carnation itself means "flower of love."

Light Red

While the carnation is a symbol of love, various colors of the carnation are often used to go one step beyond to express a deeper, more specific message. Light red carnations tend to be used to express admiration and respect.

Dark Red

Dark red carnations are associated with desire and a deeper sense of love and affection. A bouquet of deep red carnations indicates a deep, devoted love from the sender.

Ohio's State Flower

In 1904, Ohio named the red carnation as its official state flower to honor President William McKinley, who was murdered three years earlier. President McKinley often wore red carnations in his jacket lapel.

Official Club Flower

The red carnation is the official flower for Phi Kappa Tau and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternities and used as a symbol of loyalty and long-lasting survival.

Mother's Day

The carnation is the official flower representing Mother's Day. Although many colors are given on this day, a vase or bouquet of red carnations is considered a profound statement of the deep love, adoration and affection of one's mother.

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