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Carnation: Spain's Floral Emblem

February 27, 2017

Spain's National Flower

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. After reading my colleague Naho's blog post on Ireland's floral emblem, the Shamrock, I started to develop an interest in national flowers.

The other day, I went to see my first opera, Carmen. I was very moved by how passionate and intense the performances were. The image of Carmen wearing a red flower behind her ear especially left a strong impression. After some research, I found out that it was a carnation, known as Spain's floral emblem.

The Flower Beloved by Spaniards

Freedom of belief is protected by the Spanish constitution, yet according to the official website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about 75% of Spain's population is Catholic. From what I read on Minnano Hana Zukan (Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Flowers for Everyone), carnations first appeared where Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus' plight of carrying the Cross, and therefore the flower also symbolizes the great love of a mother. Todos los Santos is the Spanish equivalent of All Saints' Day and the Obon festival in Japan (お盆: celebrating the return of ancestral spirits). On that day, people often bring carnations to the graves of deceased relatives.

Cattleya: Costa Rica's Floral Emblem

February 20, 2017

The National Flower of Costa Rica

Hello again, I'm Naho, a girl who would love to spend this summer by the sea. If there is a country where it's summer throughout the year, a tropical paradise that's surrounded by the beautiful sea, it has to be Costa Rica, a well-known surfing destination located in Central America.

Just like the country itself, its national flower is also full of tropical charm. Today I would like to talk about Costa Rica's floral emblem, the cattleya, and explore more of the country's abundant nature.

The Origin of the Name "Cattleya"

Caught between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea is Costa Rica, a land of everlasting summer. The flower that was chosen to be its floral emblem is called cattleya, a species of orchid native to Central America. Cattleyas are famous for their large, showy flowers and their pleasant aroma, and are very popular as ornamental plants.

Amongst the various species within the orchid family, cattleyas are crowned "the Queen of orchids" - such is their popularity.

Shamrock: The Surprising Meaning of Ireland's Floral Emblem

February 13, 2017

The national flower of Ireland

Hello again, Naho here. Stuck at work, I sometimes just zone out and start asking myself random questions, such as "what is happiness?" Some say that finding a four-leaf clover promises good luck and happiness, I wonder if it's true...

A shamrock is a young sprig of clover, also considered a national symbol of Ireland. Like in many other countries, shamrocks represent good fortune in Ireland. However, there are some other aspects to the story that are not as well known.

The Hidden Meaning of Shamrocks' Three Leaves

Also familiar to Japanese people, shamrocks often refer to different types of clovers, a flower that many of us have looked for in our childhood.

The shamrock is widely appreciated within Ireland as the country's national emblem. What may seem a little surprising to people from other cultures, however, is the fact that the Irish would choose the three-leaved shamrock over the so-called "lucky" four-leaved clover any day of the week.

Peony: The Secrets behind China's Symbolic Flower

February 6, 2017

Chinese, English

Hello again, Naho here. Summer is finally here, and so is my queue to get on a diet. Every girl dreams about being beautiful, and I guess I'm no exception.

As an old and Japanese saying goes, "she stands and sits a peony and walks a lily". The flower of peony has long been a symbol of beauty in China. Considered one of the floral emblems of the country, the peony has a special status in the hearts of Chinese people, from emperors to artists. Today, I would like to explore the secrets behind the long-lasting popularity of the Chinese peony.

The "King of Flowers": Adored by Generations of Emperors

The peony is a beautiful flower with eye-catching petals that look like the frills of a skirt. With such dazzling appearance, it is difficult to imagine that the flower is also well-known as a medicinal herb. In traditional Chinese medicine, dried root bark of peonies is famous for being effective at reducing inflammation and pain.

In China, peony has been cultivated as a medicinal herb since the year 200, and for over a thousand years it has been adored by generations of emperors and people of China. Especially, the flower is widely known for being the favorite flower of Emperor Xuanzong and Empress Yang of the Tang Dynasty.

February 2017

Japanese Translation Agency Arc Communications

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