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Seasonal Folklore - Snowdrops

Seasonal Folklore: Snowdrops pushing through snow

There are many stories, folklore, superstitions and beliefs around snowdrops.   Tales that have been passed down for generations and which shape & guide our relationship with these ethereal flowers.  If you love snowdrops as much as I do then read on…. 


Some people say that snowdrops are shy because they look as though they are hanging their heads.   In reality, their pollen can only attract winter insects if it's kept dry, so they are not only protecting their chance of survival  but providing vital nectar at a time when it is scarce - it’s particularly useful for early-foraging bees for example. 


According to German folklore, at the beginning of time, snowdrops were the only flower willing to share their colour with the snow.  Filled with gratitude the snow granted snowdrops  protection from the bitter cold and icy conditions, so they could flower when the other flowers can’t and they became the best of friends.  


The snowdrop is believed to have been brought to Britain in the 15th century by Italian monks.  Its  Latin name, Galanthus,  translates as ‘Milkflower of the snow’.


One of the most common types of snowdrop, galanthus nivalis, is used to treat  for Alzheimer's.


Victorians believed that taking the flower into the house could bring ill-fortune, turn milk sour and spoil eggs.   it is particularly unlucky to bring snowdrops, or "Candlemas bells", into the house on February 2nd, which is Candlemas, or Imbolc.   If you wish to be married within the year you should not bring them into the house on Valentines Day, 14th February.


But snowdrops are also known as a bringer of hope and purity; the green coloured stem of the snowdrop symbolises and links with the Pagan ideals of health and wellbeing whilst the white symbolises the light of the winter sun which is now beginning to grow stronger as the days lengthen.


I love snowdrops and bring them into the house to cheer me up.  So far I’ve had no problem with my milk or eggs!   

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