“Heaven delights when the earth springs forth in flowers.” – Anonymous
Can there be a more pleasing sight to the eyes than acres upon acres of beautiful blossoms? Young or old, rich or poor, men or women are all similarly susceptible to the charm of flowers and rightly so. The proud South American nation of Colombia is also one of those places where flowers are not only treasured but celebrated too. Colombians are a celebratory people and every occasion worth celebrating is feted with flowers.
In this guide, let’s take a closer look at the best way to gift floral arrangements in Colombia, keeping in mind peculiarities of the culture and social norms, so that you get your gift, just right.
- The beautiful Orchid, Cattleya Trianae, or Christmas Orchid is the national flower of Colombia
- The national flower is so important to the people, that they actually celebrate it with a festival called ‘Feria des las Flores’ or ‘Festival of Flowers’.
Popular Flowers And Their Meanings
- Roses, especially blood Red ones are the flower of love and stand for romantic, fiery passion and intense feelings of amor.
- Carnations are the flower of choice for familial, filial or platonic love.
- Daisies are flowers of friendship and admiration.
- Orchids symbolize pride, passion, and desire.
- Lilies are thought of as both flowers of purity and mourning and gifting them needs a particular kind of sensitivity.
- Tulips are exotic flowers to the South Americas and symbolize imagination, wealth, refinement and a taste for the finer things in life.
- Alstroemeria symbolize friendship and devotion.
- Iris are flowers of gratitude and humility.
Popular Flower Gifting Days In Colombia
Colombia of the 1970s and 80s was a nation in strife. With many wars and army raids on the narcos (drug traffickers) the one thing that stayed with us. Over the past 2 decades, however, there has been a sea change and peace and prosperity have made their way into the hearts and minds of the Colombian people. Traditionally a proud and celebratory Latin people, Colombians express themselves proudly through flowers. Let us then take a closer look at the important flower gifting occasions and days, along with customary flowers for these days, so that you’re always in the right when buying your Colombian friends, flowers for those days.
Feria Des Flores
The city of Medellin, once home to the notorious Pablo Escobar, is today the scene of one of South America’s largest flower shows/festivals, simply called ‘Feria des Flores’. Celebrated in the month of May, at the height of the flower season in the region; the entire city erupts into a carnival of fun and revelry, rivaling Rio’s famed Carnival. Orchids are definitely the showstoppers at this ‘feast’ but other popular flowers they can be combined with include Water Lilies, Gerberas, Carnations and of course the de facto King of flowers, the Rose.
- Feria des Flores is all about flowers and therefore their demand is unusually high at this time, if you’re ever in Medellin, or anywhere in Colombia for that matter reserve your bouquet well in advance to get it at a reasonable price, or you may end up embarrassed.
- Orchids are the star attraction of this festival, but failing to get your hands on some, Roses are equally prized and also make a thoughtful gift.
Valentine’s Day is huge in Colombia. After all the fiery Latin folk, don’t just talk about love, they love to express it. And what better way to express ‘amor’, than with flowers. February 14th, therefore, sees Latin lovers, serenading their mamacitas with ‘cantaras’ (songs) and Flores (flowers). Like with most other places in the world, Valentine’s Day in Colombia is largely a Rose dominated day. Orchids and Gerberas are also wildly popular. A spectacular floral arrangement, therefore, would include these 3 in some capacity, with your imagination allowed to go wild.
- Seeking to break with tradition, look at a bespoke arrangement with Red Roses, contrasted by White Lilies (though considered a flower of mourning, White Lilies are also luxurious and therefore prized).
- Team your floral offering with a plush toy and Chocolates or a Chocolate Cake to make it even more irresistible.
- A novel gift could simply consist of a card, Teddy Bear, Chocolate Cake/Hamper.
Colombia is a devout, predominantly Roman Catholic country. Easter, therefore, marks the end of Lent, a season of abstinence and prayer. Even more symbolically, it commemorates the resurrection of Christ and is one of the most important holidays of the year. Latin Americans celebrate this festival with great fervor and festivity. Flowers obviously are traded as gifts and decor arrangements. Considering that this festival coincides with spring/early summer, flowers are in full bloom and their availability is never in doubt. While Roses are always a welcome gift, White Lilies, and Pink Carnations are the true flowers of the festival as they symbolize piety, purity, and rebirth.
- Always ensure that the flowers you choose are fresh cut as they tend to hold their shape and fragrance longer.
- A thoughtful Easter gift, especially for kids are Easter Eggs, or simply a Chocolate Cake and/or Chocolate Hamper.
In the Colombian culture, mothers play an important role in the well being of the primary social unit. The way she holds in the lives and interactions of her children and family is a thing of beauty. Latinos are a proud people who absolutely adore their ‘madres’ or mothers and Mother’s Day celebrated in May is one of the most important holidays in the country. Showering their mothers with respect, love and affection is a way of life for Colombians and it is especially pronounced on Mother’s Day. The best floral offerings on this day comprise of flowers like Pink Roses, Lilies, and Carnations. Add a heartfelt card and Chocolate Hamper to the mix and it is the perfect gift for the sweet one, that is the mother.
- When choosing flowers for Mother’s Day, make sure that unblemished, fresh flowers are the ones that go into the arrangement.
- Add a thoughtful card and a precious memento to the gift for a truly remarkable experience for mama.
Christmas in Colombia is easily one of the most cherished holidays. Celebrated towards the fag end of the year, it is a festival of family, togetherness and great joy. Expressed in the comfort of the home and in public, flowers of all hues and fragrances are important, both as gifts and decor statements. Cattleya Trianae (the Colombian national flower/orchid) is the most important flower of the season, as it celebrates togetherness, love, and passion. Christmas Trees are also an important central pillar of celebrations. Floral arrangements featuring Roses, Orchids, Gerberas and other flowers are also hugely important so are floral centerpieces.
- Book your Christmas tree, floral centerpieces, and floral arrangements well in advance to ensure a fair price and availability.
Choosing The Right Flowers For Different Occasions?
As emphasized earlier, the Colombians are a celebratory culture. These celebrations, however, aren’t restricted to communal, religious and other public occasions. Personal milestones, birthdays, weddings and other important family occasions are also celebrated with great enthusiasm. Flowers as always play an important role in these celebrations and knowing which flowers to pick for which occasions can be very important your participation as a family member or honored guest. So here’s a lowdown on what’s what.
Birthdays in Colombia (as is the case anywhere in the world) are moments of great happiness and joy. Celebrated with friends and loved ones, they are a loving toast of kinds for the people we treasure. Flowers and floral arrangements are an indelible part of the celebrations and must be chosen with the utmost care and thought.
The flowers to go with: Completely depends on your relation to the person celebrating the day. While a seductive arrangement of Orchids and Red Roses are perfect for a spouse or lover. With a family member, a little conservative arrangement of Daisies, White Roses, and Gerberas is your best bet.
Combinations: Gifts too all depend on the person you’re picking them up for. In the mood to get naughty with your lover, wine, chocolates and even lingerie is permissible. For friends, a book, Plush Toys, custom stationery or something they’ve coveted is the way to go.
Birthday Greetings: Keep it classy and sophisticated with a dash of humor. Something to the effect of, “To my oldest friend… today I can say without the shadow of a doubt that you are an OLD friend. Hope this day brings you love and success beyond measure. Happy Birthday”.
- A hand-tied floral arrangement is an artisanal take on the traditional bouquet.
- Always research the meaning of various flowers before including them in your arrangement, so as to avoid misunderstandings or embarrassment.
In Colombia, weddings are important social and familial events. Flowers and floral arrangements are an integral part of the occasion. There are a few things you need to remember when gifting flowers, so that your gift isn’t misinterpreted, leaving you feeling sheepish.
Choosing congratulatory flowers: Red and White are the colors of passion and love. Red Roses and White Lilies are the ultimate wedding combination. Though flowers in pastel hues like Pink Carnations, Tulips, Orchids, and Lilies, are all popular wedding flowers too.
Combinations: Combining flowers with a thoughtful card and gift like a bottle of wine makes a thoughtful and classy gift, irrespective of your relationship to the bridal couple.
Wedding Greetings: Eloquence is the way to go when creating your custom message for the Wedding Card. Something to the tune of, “Today you begin your voyage together, on the sea of life. We wish you smooth sailings, and the grace to navigate all of life’s choppy waters with love and understanding. Congratulations and here’s wishing you a happy married life.”
- Flowers symbolizing love like Roses and Lilies are indispensable to a wedding bouquet.
- S-shaped arrangements or a high vertical arrangement is the way to go.
Funerals are occasions of solemnity and solidarity. Coming together to pay respect and homage to the departed is only one aspect of a funerary service. The other is obviously expressing support and strength to the bereaved family. These are a few points to remember when offering flowers at a funeral in Colombia.
Choosing flowers to offer condolence: White symbolizes purity and Lilies and White Roses, along with White Chrysanthemums and Carnations are the best, most appropriate flowers to be offered as wreaths or sprays at funerals.
Condolence Message: A simple, heartfelt message is always appreciated. Something to the tune of, “In life, he/she brought great happiness and laughter wherever he/she went. We pray that God the Almighty judge him with kindness and bless you with the strength to overcome this great loss. We are with you in your time of need. Our heartfelt condolences.”
- Wreaths and sprays are the preferred styles of the bouquet as they can be placed directly on the coffin or grave.
- While white flowers are the standard at a funeral. A loving tribute to the deceased would definitely be a bouquet or wreath of their favorite flowers.
Where Do Flowers In Colombia Come From?
Colombia is home to a vast array of seasonal and gifting flowers. But with a big-time surge in demand, however, Colombia has had to open its markets to import of flowers from many countries. A booming economy means that the kinds of flowers now available in Colombian markets include imports from around the world. Roses, Lilies, and Alstroemerias from other Latin American countries like Brazil, Paraguay, and Suriname. They import Daisies, Lilies and other flowers from Germany, France, and Italy. Holland provides Tulips and Irises. And far off India, China and Japan too, contribute to the burgeoning flower trade.
Top Tips to Consider when buying flowers to gift
Local flowers are best: Local flowers are used to the climate, have a certain significance to the populace and hold their shape and freshness longer.
Research the meaning of flowers: Lily may be considered a mourning flower in some culture, whereas in another the romantic aspect of the same flower may hold another importance. Depending on the culture, it is important to research the meanings of the flowers before considering gifting them, in order to avoid inadvertent disrespect or embarrassment.
Checking the overall state of the flowers: If and when possible always check the overall state of the flowers before incorporating them into your bouquet. Even the slightest of blemishes can aesthetically damage the appearance of the arrangement. Flowers with blemishes often spoil early and can be perceived as sloppy, or disrespectful.
Check the credentials of the florist/flower delivery service: Every online florist/flower delivery service is generally rated by previous users. Take the time to view the testimonials section, or visit online review sites like Yelp that will feature user reviews. Make an informed decision, in order to get the best possible quality.
How To Care Of Flowers Received As Gifts?
- Choose a clear vase in order to properly display flowers.
- Add a good amount of water to the vase.
- Cut the stems regularly to keep them fresher, longer.
- Keep flowers in a cool, dry area, away from heat emitting appliances.
- Change the water in the vase daily or whenever possible.
- Follow the care instruction that comes with the bouquet.
- Add a little sugar or lemon juice to the water in the vase, to reduce the acidity of the water and provide the cut flowers with some nutrition.
Colombia is a beautiful, vibrant place full of warm and friendly people. They celebrate life and all the occasions that go with it, and now that you’re in the know about the kind of flowers that go with these different celebrations, you can confidently and thoughtfully present these to your Colombian family members, friends, and business contacts.