Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Christmas flowers at the Brompton Oratory

008Visited the Brompton Oratory, South Kensington, London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,  on 30 December 2015.  All the main flower arrangements consisted of red and white flowers, sometimes supplemented with gold or silver ornaments.  Other flowers, left by members of the public, were also red and/or white, so it appears that these are now considered to be the ‘correct’ colours for Christmas, even though the flowers at Westminster Cathedral on 25 December were only white.

In many  London shops inexpensive bunches of white chrysanthemums and red carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) were on sale throughout the Christmas season.  These bunches contained more chrysanthemums, and usually also included in most bunches were an ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea) sprayed with glitter,  and a cut-out red reindeer, silver star, or some other decoration mounted on a long stick.  Thus it appears that the old belief that red and white flowers together in a vase are inauspicious, or does the inclusion of the cabbage or the reindeer prevent misfortune?

Image:  flower arrangement decorating chapel dedicated to Our Lady.

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