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My Blog

Easter Corsages

Good morning to everyone.  Well, here it is Holy Saturday already.  The sun is shining and it is going to be a beautiful spring day. 
Yesterday, while I was driving to the grocery store...I passed a floral truck and it gave me a shot in the arm about what today's blog should be. 
That flower truck took me instantly back in time to when I was a young girl during Easter.  I remember how thrilled and excited I was on Easter morning receiving a corsage. I don't ever remember not having one for Easter.  Times were very different then.  Everyone was really dressed in their finest.  I was very fortunate to have those amazing experiences.  From the Easter dress with matching shoes, purse, gloves and an Easter coat.  And, on that coat was my Easter corsage. 
I remember as I grew older and had money of my own, buying my mother and grandmother a corsage as well.  It was our tradition. Back then everyone always wore corsages or flowers in their hair. On the week of Easter you would simply order your corsages at the local floral shop.  As years went by, you would be able to find them all boxed up in just about any of the grocery stores like Jewel and Dominicks.  From cymbidium orchids to small carnations or tea roses..  They all were propped upon some Easter like grass in a clear box. 
Once I married it became a tradition as well in our family.  I remember getting the corsages for my daughters to place on their Easter coats. And so the tradition continued...but today...I am no longer seeing the corsages worn.  In fact, I barely see the same type of Easter attire.  Everyone has become so casual about their dress code.  I remember as the years went by with my daughters as they grew up...asking whether they could wear something casual.  My answer was always the same....NO.  I would always remark that this was a holiday and they should embrace it.  Looking back, I suppose that the clothes we were really shouldn't matter...but when I look back at it...it wasn't just another day.  It was a day to remember and embrace.  Finally there came a time in my life when I became allergic to the flowers and can no longer were them.  It saddens me a bit, but I hold on dearly to the memories of that small corsage box and the wonder that it held.  I remember feeling so proud to wear the corsage. 
I wondered about floral shops today.  They send loads of floral arrangements on Easter time.  I suppose having flowers on the table is nice, but I cannot help but think about how very personal that corsage was. 
Funny how time changes things.  I can remember corsages for the holidays,proms for weddings and even when someone died...they wore a corsage in the casket
So this really made me think about when wearing a corsage became popular and why.    The word corsage comes from the same French word which refers to the bodice of a woman's dress. Women wore flowers pinned to their bodice, usually to the center of the bodice, and hence the flowers became known in French as a "bouquet de corsage."  
In the 1600's,Men wore flowers in their lapels to ward off evil spirits.  Women eventually changed from wearing the flowers in the center or their dress to the left side...the side closet to the heart.
For Easter, an orchid is often the flower of choice for a corsage but the wonderful, sweet-smelling gardenia is also popular, which., by the way was one of my favorite flowers of choice. One tradition that begun in the early 1900's is to wear a red carnation on Mother's Day if your mother is still living, and to wear a white
carnation if your mother is deceased.
It was also surprising to me to learn that when a young man picked up his date for a prom, he would bring a bouquet of flowers for her mother and they would choose flowers for her to wear and perhaps a flower for the young man as well.  This has been the thought to be the origin of the prom corsage that still exists today. 
So, there you have it.  A tradition that is somewhat vanished at Easter time...what a shame.  It was really a special treat back then and I for one would still enjoy seeing them on those Easter coats and dresses.

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