Legend of the Easter Lily


The Easter Lily. For many, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life—the spiritual essence of Easter.


simone martini 14th

Annunciation by Simone Martini,14th Century

Annunciation by Fra Philipo Lippi, 15th CenturyFra Philipo Lippi


When I was studying art history and symbols (Iconography) in art, I learned that the white lily, also known as the Madonna lily, was the first flower ever recorded in ancient Macedonia. The lily has also featured prominently in paintings of the Annunciation since medieval times. 
History, mythology, literature, poetry and the world of art are rife with stories and images that speak of the beauty and majesty of the elegant white flowers. Often called the “white-robed apostles of hope,” lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. Churches continue this tradition at Easter  by banking their altars and surrounding their crosses with masses of Easter Lilies, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting.

Since the beginning of time, lilies have played significant roles in allegorical tales concerning the sacrament of motherhood. Roman mythology links it to Juno, the queen of the gods. The story goes that while Juno was nursing her son Hercules, excess milk fell from the sky. Although part of it remained above the earth (thus creating the group of stars known as the Milky Way), the remainder fell to the earth, creating lilies. Another tradition has it that the lily sprang from the repentant tears of Eve as she went forth from Paradise.

The pure white lily has long been closely associated with the Virgin Mary. In early paintings, the Angel Gabriel is pictured extending to the Virgin Mary a branch of pure white lilies, announcing that she is to be the mother of the Christ Child.

Annunciation by Edward Burne Jones, 19th Century


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Johnna Bara
    Apr 04, 2015 @ 13:07:41

    This is rather lovely.  Thank you! xoxoxo   From: Ancestral Bird To: jlberrybara@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, April 4, 2015 8:59 AM Subject: [New post] Legend of the Easter Lily #yiv1343561582 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1343561582 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1343561582 a.yiv1343561582primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1343561582 a.yiv1343561582primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1343561582 a.yiv1343561582primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1343561582 a.yiv1343561582primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1343561582 WordPress.com | Susan Bird Olds posted: “The Easter Lily. For many, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life—the spiritual essence of Easter.Annunciation by Simone Martini,14th CenturyAnnunciation by Fra Philipo Lippi, 15th Century ” | |


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