It is a tradition of long standing that the winner of New York's Belmont Stakes claims the prize wearing a blanket of about 700 fresh white carnations. The race is the third leg of the prestigious Triple Crown of horse racing, and the white carnation is the official flower. The Belmont carnation symbolizes love and luck, and the carnation itself stands for longevity. Green carnations have their own set of meanings.
Combining Two Different Worlds
"Green represents health, resilience, good fortune and youth," according to the Flower Meanings website. It is the color of nature and natural elements including plants and flowers. 'Carnation' has several possible meanings. It could derive from the Latin 'carnis' meaning flesh, or 'incarnation.' It may come from 'coronation,' reflecting an early association with Greek floral crowns. Green carnations inherit the best of both these worlds.
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day on March 17, is a major annual celebration in Ireland, and around the world wherever there are Irish communities. "The wearing of the green" definitely includes green carnations, mainly as boutonnieres and corsages. It is also customary to send vases or baskets of green carnations on this special occasion.
Mardis Gras Color
Green carnations also mean Mardi Gras. Along with purple and yellow carnations, green carnations are mainstays of this vibrant and festive annual event.
Colorful Science Experiment
In a science class experiment among carnations, the green carnation took third place behind the blue and red ones. In fact, all three started out as white carnations. Their cut stems were placed into separate cups of water containing green, red and blue food coloring. Students then kept watch to find out how long it took for the water to reach the petals by ascending through the stems. The broader point of the experiment was to learn how the flowers absorbed the water, which traveled to the leaves and buds as well as the petals. Their petals slowly turned blue, red and green respectively, giving new meaning to science experiments.
Fascination and distinction describe carnations in general, and there are different associations linked with various carnation colors. For example, green carnations came to symbolize homosexuality during the early 1900s. The writer, Oscar Wilde (1854 to 1900) reportedly wore green carnations to make a statement.
Green Carnation is the name of a band from Kristiansand in Norway, formed in 1990. Known for its rock and metal genres, this band released an acoustic album in 2006, heading in a new music direction.