The calla: meaning of a flower
In the subtle language of flowers, the calla plays a very particular role. Its very name, from the Greek "kalуs", meaning "beautiful", makes it a symbol of pure and uncontaminated beauty, delicate and refined. But its ancient history sees it at the center of myths and legends which, over time, have contributed to increasing its fame and value, giving it other meanings, often opposite to each other. Generally, giving a calla means to show affection and esteem towards the person to whom it is given. And yet, depending on the color, it may also want to symbolize different moods: pure and innocent love, if the flower is white, or passionate and sensual love, if it is tinged with red; femininity, if we are giving a pink calla lily; eternity, if we have in our hands a purple calla, also called black calla. In this multiplicity of meanings, the best way to know which way to give away is to know its history better.
The calla: ancient meaning
The origin of the calla, and its meaning, has its roots in the myth and stories of ancient gods. According to Greek tradition, for example, the first calla would have been generated by a few drops of mother's milk accidentally fallen from the breast of the goddess Hera, divinity of the Earth and of procreation. Therefore, for Greek culture, the calla was an undisputed symbol of femininity and prosperity. On the contrary, instead, the Roman popular tradition attributed a decidedly erotic and sensual meaning to it, due to the exuberant spadix found in the center of the flower. Therefore, the calla was considered a phallic symbol, a symbol of masculinity and virility. No one, however, has ever questioned its first and true meaning, what makes the calla symbol and emblem of beauty and perfection. According to an ancient legend, in fact, it was Venus herself who cursed the flower, due to its excessive beauty. As a result of this divine curse, the central spadix was formed, so as to make it uglier and more awkward.
The calla and its religious significance
Also for the Christian religion, the calla is a symbol of beauty and perfection, as well as of purity. There are many popular traditions that bring the flower back to the figure of the Virgin Mary, understood as an emblem of virtue. In the same way, some legends tell of how the tears of Eve, driven from the Earthly Paradise, were born to give birth to the flower. The Christian tradition, however, is the first to associate the flower with the world of the dead and the underworld, making the calla meaning of eternal life. Especially in its purple variant. Carved on commemorative tombstones, frescoed on the walls of churches and religious buildings, the calla becomes the flower of those who left their lives prematurely. We also find it in the hands of the Archangel Gabriel, used as a trumpet, in the act of announcing the Resurrection.
Calla meaning: A flower, multiple meanings
Beauty, purity, perfection, eternal life. But also love, passion and sexuality. Over time, different traditions and different cultures have made the calla meaning of passionate and violent moods or, again, a symbol of virtue and purity. No one, however, has ever questioned his charm, to the point that famous artists and photographers have competed with each other in an attempt to represent, at best, the essence of this enchantment. And its symbolic strength is confirmed by the fact that many countries, in their political history, have chosen precisely the calla as a symbol of freedom and revolution. The calla was, and is, a flower capable of speaking straight to the heart of those who hold it in their hands. Knowing why, is a way to better speak the secret language of this unique flower.