Peonies have a long history that can be traced back to ancient China and Japan, where they were first grown for their medical benefits before being prized for their beauty.
Early peony history
The peony was first cultivated in China more than 2,000 years ago, and because of its beauty and scarcity, it swiftly came to represent riches and grandeur.
In fact, the peony used to be cherished so highly that it was regarded as more valuable than gold. As a result, it was occasionally used as money.
The Chinese employed the peony as a remedy for a number of illnesses, including epilepsy, headaches, and digestive issues.
Because they believed the flower had a relaxing effect on the body and psyche, it was also used in religious festivals.
The peony eventually received its own “Peony Festival” in China because of its increasing popularity. In Luoyang, China, this continues to be a holiday today. Thousands of peonies are on exhibit during the event in full bloom.
The history of peonies in Japan
The peony was also prized for its therapeutic benefits and for its purported ability to fend off evil spirits in Japan.
The flower was also admired by the Japanese for its grace and beauty, and it quickly became popular with the aristocracy. It was so revered in Japan that it was frequently depicted as a motif in literature and appeared on Japanese banknotes.
The peony remains a prominent motif in contemporary Japanese art. It is often used to symbolize good fortune, prosperity, and beauty.
In addition to its medicinal benefits, the peony has a special place in Chinese and Japanese mythology. According to legend, it sprung from the blood of a beautiful nymph killed by the gods out of jealousy. The peony was said to have been the nymph’s favorite flower and was believed to be imbued with her beauty.
Today, the peony is still a popular flower for Mother’s Day and other special events, such as weddings. Peonies come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, white, and yellow. They are easy to care for since they can be grown in a variety of climates.