In days gone by, flowers were used by lovers to express emotions and feelings that could not be conveyed by words or actions when such open declarations were deemed inappropriate and forbidden by society as a whole. The Victorians were particularly skilled at using this secret language for romantic purposes and it was not unusual for a bouquet to be presented with different flowers to convey different messages all at the same time. However, in modern times, a carnation tattoo may be chosen for its symbolism or simply because it is one’s birth flower, for those born in the month of January.

Different coloured inks can change the meaning of a carnation tattoo. The white carnation is a popular wedding flower as it symbolizes betrothal, fertility and eternal love while red ones are believed to represent a broken heart and yellow signifies rejection. However in some cultures, including France, the carnation has more negative connotations and is associated with bad luck and misfortune.

In ancient Rome, carnations were used as a tribute to the Gods and were called “Jove’s Flower.” In modern civilisation, these are popular flowers for special occasions such as Mother’s day or weddings and in Korea red and pink varieties are used on Parent’s day to owner Mother and Father. Unlike in the West, Koreans they do not have a separate date to celebrate each, so on this special day parents wear a corsage presented by their children to show their love. Carnations also mean admiration, gratitude and love so these are also used on Teacher’s day for children to show their appreciation to their teaching staff.

The carnation is also the national flower of Spain and is also the chosen provincial flower for the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community in the Mediterranean. The Portuguese used it as a symbol for Portugal’s Carnation Revolution while Ohio’s state flower is the scarlet carnation in honour of an assassinated president back in the early 20th Century. William McKinley, was also the governor of Ohio and regularly wore carnations of this colour on his lapel hence why it because synonymous with this state.

There are many inspirational aspects to flowers from their visual impact, to their scent and the feel of their soft petals and they are associated with beauty, sweetness and healing as well as innocence, serenity and nobility. The very sight of some beautiful flowers can brighten up even the dullest day or bring a smile to one’s face during difficult time. Perhaps this is why floral tattoo designs are so popular and having a carnation tattoo is one way to capture the characteristics associated with this flower and carry them with you forever.

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