Meaning & Symbolism of Lilies

Dating as far back as 1580 B.C., when images of lilies were discovered in a villa in Crete, these majestic flowers have long held a role in ancient mythology. Derived from the Greek word "leiron," (generally assumed to refer to the white Madonna lily), the lily was so revered by the Greeks that they believed it sprouted from the milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. Lilies are known to be the May birth flower, and the 30th wedding anniversary flower.

While white lilies symbolize chastity and virtue – and were the symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity and her role of Queen of the Angels – as other varieties became popular, they brought with them additional meanings and symbolism as well. Peruvian lilies, or alstroemeria, represent friendship and devotion, white stargazer lilies express sympathy and pink stargazer lilies represent wealth and prosperity. Symbolizing humility and devotion, lilies are the 30th anniversary flower - while lilies of the valley are the 2nd wedding anniversary flower.

As the flowers most often associated with funerals, lilies symbolize that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death.

View more on our Flower Type Meaning Page