Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
  • MENU

Snowdrop (Galanthus) – A flower for the New Year

Snowdrop (Galanthus)
Snowdrop (Galanthus)

In the Victorian ‘Language of Flowers’ the snowdrop is called the flower of hope, its little shoots and snowy buds peeping through in the depths of winter, bringing a promise that spring is on the way. It was also associated with fresh hope as the old year ends and the new one begins.

In Jacqueline Carey’s series of novels set in the imaginary land, Terre d’Ange, snowdrops are distilled to create a beverage called joie that is drunk on New Year’s Eve.

’Twelve Months’ is a Russian fairy tale by Samuil Marshak and tells the story of an orphaned girl named Anya. When a spoiled princess, sees a picture of a Galanthus, she immediately wants one. However, the Galanthus only blooms in spring, in the month of April. It is New Year’s Eve and there was no way that such a flower can be found. The princess offers a basket of gold to anyone who can bring her a bag of Galanthus.

Anya lives with her cruel stepmother and step-sister and when they hear of the reward for the flowers, they throw Anya out of their house on the coldest and stormiest night of the year, New Year’s Eve, demanding she brings them back a basket full of Galanthus.

This seems an impossible task and the night is so cold and stormy that Anya must surely freeze to death. Deep in the woods the Spirits of the Twelve Months take pity on Anya and not only save her life but also make it possible for her to gather the flowers even in the depths of winter. As in all good fairy tales the wicked characters meet a sticky end and the good Anya goes to live happily ever after in a palace. From then on Galanthus blooms on New Years Eve.