Tag Archives: Easter
We’re now in Holy Week in the Orthodox Church with Palm Sunday today and the lead up to Easter in full swing. The latest possible date for Easter in the Orthodox calendar means that in Cyprus we’re assured good weather for the festivities of Easter Day and the local youths are already getting in high spirits for the midnight bonfire on Easter Saturday.
The shops are full of Easter gifts; from chocolate to a variety of porcelain animals, but amongst the fattening and tat there are beautiful flowers that would make a special Easter gift for the person you love.
A trip around Cosmea Gardens flower shop in Larnaca shows that the floral year is definitely in full swing. There are beautiful gerberas in a wide range of colours, local and imported roses.
I’ve made a note to visit Agros soon to discover the damask rose beds and try some of the wonderful rose products there. May is the time when the petals are carefully picked and you need to be there very early in the morning if you’re going to help as a willing volunteer.
Back in the florists, you’ll find plenty of lilies and I’ve noticed of late, the use of arum lilies in the bouquets. This is quite apt for, although not a true lily, the arum lily is often referred to as the Easter Lily. The true Easter Lily; lilium longiflorum is strongly and beautifully scented and is used at Easter because of its almost translucent whiteness, a sign of purity representing the risen Christ, cleansed of the sins of the world he took to Calvary.
I like alstroemeria in bouquets, especially the white ones whose speckled throats are tinged with yellow and green, or the pink ones with white throats. I almost always steer clear of the garish orange ones which either get lost in an equally garish yellow and orange creation or which look completely out of place in any other bouquet.
For the background to an Easter bouquet, I’ d avoid the bear grass which is now definitely going out of fashion and instead use the broad leafed greenery like phormium tenax or, as a nice complement to the white flowers, use some silvery eucalyptus. Don’t forget the gypsophila which hides any unsightly stems and you’ll have the perfect Easter gift.
Now, before you write all this down and head for Cosmea Gardens, you may want to consider asking them to do all this for you. A lot of us are quite competent flower arrangers but if you’ve not got the time, or the patience to make a professional job, why not leave it to the experts. You can get simple bouquets from €20 or go wild with a spectacular arrangement for up to €50.
Ordering online is simple and with delivery all over the island and abroad available at almost a moment’s notice, you can at least say you chose the flowers you sent this Easter.
Whatever you do, have a happy and joyful Easter – Χριστός Ανέστη αγαπητοί φίλοι.
Posted: Apr 28, 2013 01:57:11 under Arrangements, Bouquets, Celebration, Easter, Floral Gifts, Flower Care & Advice, How-To's, Plants, Random Ideas, Special Event.
Tags: Arrangements, bouquet, Cosmea Gardens online, Cyprus, Easter, flowers, friends, gifts, happiness, holiday, send flowers to Cyprus, spring, Tips.
Easter is a distant memory now in the UK with hot cross buns polished off until next Lent and Easter eggs broken up and scoffed but at least many places in the UK are still waiting for the flower of Easter; the daffodil or Lent Lily because of the bad weather.
In Orthodox countries such as Greece and Cyprus, people are getting edgy now, for we have to wait for the latest date it’s possible to have Easter in the Orthodox Church; the 5th May. By that time summer will be in full swing whereas in the UK and the rest of Western Europe, Easter was still firmly stuck in winter. The late date of Easter will also push back Pentecost nearly to the end of June but at least the cooling water fights of Kataklysmos will be appreciated then!
So why is Easter so late in Orthodox countries this year?
The reason is all to do with the calendars that each religion uses. The Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar whilst the western church uses the Gregorian calendar. The calendars comprise exactly the same number of days, leap years and number of days in each month but because the calendars base their calculations on different aspects of a ‘year’ there is a discrepancy. The Julian calendar is based on the tropical or solar year which is slightly shorter than the actual year according to the Gregorian calendar and is now currently thirteen days behind. Bearing in mind the fact that the date of Easter is rather complicatedly based on the first Sunday after the first paschal new moon after the spring equinox, it’s no wonder people aren’t sure how it’s calculated or what the date of each Easter is! Even more interestingly is that Easter Sunday is always on the fourteenth day of the lunar month following the spring equinox.
This year it means a four week gap between the Gregorian Easter and the Julian one, enough time for you to celebrate it in the UK, almost forget about those extra pounds you piled on with eggs and buns (or lose them!), and then celebrate it once more in an Orthodox country. Unfortunately for a tourist though it means you get hit with a double whammy on flight prices for both Easters.
However, the benefit is that if you forgot to get a special someone an Easter gift, you could always play it cool and suggest you prefer to follow the Orthodox Church’s view on Easter and that’s why those Easter flowers from Cosmea Gardens have turned up four weeks later!
By getting your Easter flowers for Orthodox Easter, at least you’ll have a wider range of flowers to choose from and just a quick look around Cosmea Gardens’ shop shows the increasing range of cut flowers that bloom as the weather gets warmer.
You’ve got plenty of time still to save up for those Easter flowers or you could just be very organised and order them now – and if your memory is as good as mine, you’ll be just as surprised as the recipient when the flowers are delivered in just under three weeks’ time!
Posted: Apr 09, 2013 19:49:25 under Arrangements, Bouquets, Celebration, Decorative Ideas, Easter, Floral Gifts, Holidays, Special Event.
Tags: Arrangements, bouquet, Cosmea Gardens online, Easter, flowers, gifts, happiness, holiday, love, send flowers to Cyprus, spring.
It’s just under two weeks now until the start of Carnival season in Cyprus and, whilst you may be thinking we’re a little late this year, don’t worry – it’s the divergence between the western and Orthodox calendars that is to blame.
In the UK, you’ll be well into Lent and have had the traditional Pancake Day celebration, in New Orleans and Rio, the Mardi Gras carnivals have been and gone in a riot of colour but here, we have to wait until the 7th March for the start of our celebrations which this year will carry on for a whole TEN days.
In Paphos, the main part of the festival has to wait until the 16th March – coincidentally my birthday, when young and old will take to the streets to celebrate before the dourness of Lent takes over.
Limassol has the biggest carnival in Cyprus and it’s believed to be the third biggest worldwide, but biggest or smallest, it’s always a riot of colour, music, noise, drama and costume.
A little like the Venetian carnivals, Cypriot revellers wear masks, a throwback to when Venice ruled the island and the shops are already full of ready to wear masks, maracas, balloons and more to ensure everyone has the time of their lives.
Lent in Orthodox countries is very different to that in the west. Instead of the black veiled crosses and sombre mood, Orthodox Christians see the time as one of happiness after receivin forgiveness of their sins and for the coming of springtime and the resurrection, a little like the west celebrates Advent.
Interestingly, by the time Clean Monday has arrived, we’re already in Lent for it begins as the special service called Forgiveness Vespers gets underway on the Sunday evening before.
On the first day of Lent; Green or Clean Monday, Orthodox Christians will go out for picnics and fly kites, ask for forgiveness from others and begin Lent cleansed from their sins. Flowers that are typical of this time are white lilies to show purity and cleanliness and if you want to make a gift of flowers to anyone in Lent, aim for white and you’ll maintain the tradition of the season.
Fasting is taken seriously by the devout but don’t worry; in a country that loves its food there’s plenty you can eat and still be a good Christian. It’s only meat, eggs and fish that are not allowed and twisting the rules slightly, the Cypriots now make the most of meals made from shellfish as is the custom for the Clean Monday feast.
On a secular note, with Clean Monday being a portent of spring, take a leaf out of Tennyson’s book and if your thoughts lightly turn to love, order a bouquet of flowers from Cosmea Gardens for that one you want to make special in your life and use it to invite the lucky girl to help you fly your kite on Clean Monday or to accompany you, masked, to the carnival, perhaps followed by a romantic meal afterwards. Whatever you do, enjoy the carnival and may your kite fly high!
Posted: Feb 22, 2013 13:44:39 under Arrangements, Bouquets, Carnival, Celebration, Floral Gifts, Holidays, Special Event.
Tags: Arrangements, bouquet, Carnival, Cosmea Gardens online, Cyprus, Easter, flowers, friends, gifts, happiness, holiday, love, spring.
The weather here in Cyprus has recently improved dramatically after some unusually cold weather that saw snow fall on our balcony on the coast near Paphos.
Taking the chance for a walk this afternoon in the warm sunshine I was surprised to spot a wild narcissus flower. I hadn’t realised they flowered in the wild in Cyprus and knelt down for a closer inspection. It had the strong sweet perfume of the narcissus you buy in a florist but was a pale greenish white and had a lustre to the petals that made them glisten in the sunshine.
Leaving it for others to enjoy I went home to check out my find and came across some very interesting facts.
The daffodil was originally a variant of the asphodel, another plant that grows locally here in Cyprus. I was surprised to find out that daffodils are common to North Africa, thinking that they were a spring flower from colder climates.
The narcissus was well known to the ancient Greeks who believed it was linked with the youth Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool and couldn’t move away, eventually dying of hunger. They believe that the gods turned his remains into a narcissus flower which is said to represent a face. Whereas roses are the symbol of love, a narcissus is a symbol of unrequited love as Narcissus’ love was never returned.
Whilst the flower is seen as a symbol of vanity in the west, in the Far East and particularly China, the flower is considered lucky, as in a fable, a man who found a flower received great riches as a result. As it flowers around the time of the Chinese New Year, it’s a symbol of that time of year whilst its fragrance is used commonly in Chinese perfumes. In the west it flowers in late spring and so is then linked with Easter and in German its name means ‘Easter Bell’.
The narcissus is the national flower of Kurdistan and its variant, the daffodil is the national flower of Wales.
In the Middle East the flower represents beautiful eyes and is often grown with violets to represent hair and roses where the petals represent healthy cheeks.
The narcissus hides a secret though for the flower has a poison coursing through it and concentrated in its bulbs. Many people have been accidentally poisoned by it over the centuries thinking the bulbs were onions. That said, a paste made from the mashed bulb is often used in traditional Japanese medicine to clean wounds whilst recent studies suggest that a compound in the plant may be effective against Alzheimer’s Disease leading to a large scale trial of the compound.
Finding that single narcissus has certainly opened up a world of learning for me and if you want to start on a lifelong relationship with narcissus, order a bouquet of spring flowers from your favourite online flower shop; Cosmea Gardens and let the heady, sweet perfume fill your home with the scent of spring.
Posted: Jan 17, 2013 18:36:08 under Arrangements, Bouquets, Easter, Floral Gifts, Holidays, Plants.
Tags: Arrangements, bouquet, Cosmea Gardens online, Cyprus, Easter, flowers, love, scent, spring, wild flowers.
We’re fast approaching Easter in the UK and a week after it will be Orthodox Easter and this year I get to celebrate both, being in the UK for their Easter weekend before flying back to Cyprus for theirs.
I love Easter, for me it truly signals the end of winter and spring and the start of the countdown to the heady days of summer. Whilst for many, it’s just a time to consume tonnes of hollow chocolate objects and have an excuse for another family dinner, for the more religious it marks the most important festival in the religious calendar.
I’ve often wondered, especially since living in Cyprus, why the Cypriots don’t really do Christmas and save all the celebrations for Eastertide until I looked up a theological essay on the subject.
As far as I can see, the birth of Jesus is relatively unimportant in its significance to the development of Christianity and I can understand why Epiphany is more important as being the first time he is acknowledged as King by the wise men. But it’s Easter and its implication in the ideology of eternal life that is the main festival because it’s when Jesus shows us that it is possible to be raised from death, if only as a soul, and to take our rightful place in heaven. The whole dogma of Christianity hangs on that one event and is summed up succinctly by the Easter morning Greek greeting of ‘Χριστός Ανέστη’ and the reply ‘Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη’, Christ is risen and the reply, truly he is risen.
On a far more light-hearted note, it’s this time of year when I laugh at the friends who have decided upon a ‘bikini diet’ to prepare themselves for their summer holidays. It usually starts when the clocks go forward only to be rudely interrupted when Easter pops up and they’ve just got to gorge themselves on the chocolate eggs and accompanying individual chocolates not to mention those fondant filled eggs that shall remain nameless.
So what should we get for those people who we know desperately want to look svelte in their swimsuit and not bulgy in a bikini? Nothing fits the bill better than a bouquet of flowers and especially at Easter when spring flowers abound and if you want to go for the traditional, you can send white lilies signifying purity and new birth. As always I find the best flowers come from Cosmea Gardens. Feel free to use coupon “savethiseaster” on checkout and save 10% with a minimum order of 50Eur excluding shipping. It expires the 16th of April. I’ve never had cause to complain about the quality and condition of the blooms they’ve delivered and their flowers last for weeks; a benefit of them using only the freshest cut flowers in their arrangements. They might be a little more expensive than some but when a gift is important for the message it sends, a couple of euros extra is well worth it for the quality. So this Easter, if you need to send a gift to a horizontally challenged friend or relative, be a thoughtful person and send them flowers that will add considerably to their impressions of you and not their waistline!
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 17:23:37 under Arrangements, Bouquets, Celebration, Easter, Floral Gifts, Holidays, Special Event.
Tags: Arrangements, bouquet, Cosmea Gardens online, Cyprus, Easter, flowers, friends, gifts, happiness, holiday, love, Plants, send flowers to Cyprus, spring.
Easter is the key festival in the Christian church. Without Easter we wouldn’t have Christianity but looking through the Easter cards in my local card shop made me think about how ‘Easter’ was celebrated before Christianity, for it was the celebration for the pagan goddess Eostre that gave Easter its name.
Eostre was goddess of the dawn and came to signify new birth and hence the ‘rebirth’ of Jesus after the crucifixion. The Easter rabbit, chicks and Easter eggs all come from elements representing Eostre or from pagan ceremonies celebrating her.
It seems strange to me that we should still use these pagan symbols at a Christian religious feast and some, like flowers and especially white lilies are used in churches at Easter just as newly opening white flowers were used to praise Eostre.
Paganism or otherwise, flowers are a great present for Easter – and a lot less fattening than those other pagan gifts – Easter eggs. Choose white flowers for the purity and innocence of new birth and perhaps send some flowers to someone with whom you want a new start.
My wife is joining me in Cyprus tomorrow for what will be a new start for her and for us. When I meet her at the airport, I’ll be giving her a welcoming bouquet of flowers from Cosmea Gardens. Think about someone with whom you can make a fresh start and order some too in time for Easter!
Posted: Apr 18, 2011 20:37:46 under Arrangements, Bouquets, Easter.
Tags: Arrangements, bouquet, Easter, flowers, friends, gifts, happiness, holiday, spring.
Easter’s on it’s way – you only have to look in the stores to see acres of Easter eggs, cuddly chicks and rabbits and the party food ready for the family dinner on Easter Day. A recent survey in the UK found that over 70% of people thought Easter was only on Easter Sunday, 65% had heard of Good Friday but didn’t know its significance, thinking that it was only the name of a bank holiday!
Pooh Bear Finds An Easter Egg
In reading the story of Holy Week to the children in my class I was suddenly struck by the significant part plants played in the story. On Palm Sunday, palm branches were pulled down from the trees that lined the route of Jesus and laid with cloaks across his path. At the Passover, bread, made from wheat, was blessed and consumed. Following the meal Jesus and the disciples were surrounded by olive, acacia, juniper and pine trees in the Garden of Gethsemane together with rock roses.
The cross has a variety of legends attached to it but the one I like is that it was made from Dogwood, which 2000 years ago grew as a strong tree. After its use for the cross, God changed it into a small spindly, twisted shrub so its wood could never be used for a cross again. The flowers of the Dogwood are also symbolic. They have four petals set in a cross shape and red stamens that represent his crown. The clustered red berries symbolise his blood.
The crown of thorns was made from the stems of Euphorbia Milii which bears the common name Christ plant or Christ thorn
Jesus was given a drink of vinegar in which hyssop had been soaked when on the cross.
Then finally Jesus appears on Easter morning as a gardener.
Now I don’t recommend you doing an arrangement for Easter based on these plants from the Easter story. Many florists insist that the colours of Easter arrangements must be yellow – probably so it matches with the Easter chicks!! I prefer to go with tradition and make an arrangement using Easter lilies. Be careful here because many flowers have the soubriquet of Easter Lily. The true Easter Lily is Lilium Longiflorum and is pure white with a beautiful scent. If you want to vary the flowers but keep the same theme, mix them with White Arum lilies – Zantedeschia Aethiopica and back them with glossy dark green foliage.
For Easter, whether buying flowers for your home or sending an arrangement to friends or loved ones, Cosmea Gardens are offering 10% off any order of 30 euros or more, just use the code APRILFOOLSDAY. The offer is available until the 7th April.
Posted: Mar 31, 2010 10:32:08 under Bouquets, Easter, Floral Gifts.
Tags: Arrangements, Easter, flowers.