The Narcissus flower is perceived quite differently in the east than in the west. Whereas in the west, the Narcissus flower is seen as a symbol of vanity, in China, the same flower is seen as a symbol of wealth and good fortune. The ancient Greeks believed this plant originated from the vain youth, Narcissus. He died after becoming so obsessed with his reflection in a pool he could not leave. The Greeks say that the gods turned his remains into the Narcissus flower.
In ancient China, there is a legend about a poor but good man, who was brought many cups of gold and wealth by this flower. Since the flower blooms around this time of year, it has also become a symbol of Chinese New Year. Narcissus bulb carving and cultivation is even an art akin to Japanese Bonsai. If your Narcissus blooms on Chinese New Years, it is said to bring you extra wealth and good fortune throughout the year. On top of that, it has one of the sweetest fragrances of any flower. So it is highly revered in Chinese culture.
In Hawaii, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii sponsors a Chinese cultural festival, called the Narcissus Festival, culminating with a beauty pageant whose winner is called the Narcissus Queen.
The daffodil is the national flower of Wales. One species, Narcissus obvallaris, grows only in a small area around Tenby. In Wales it is traditional to wear a daffodil or a leek on Saint David’s Day (March 1). This has led to suggestions that the word “daffodil” may have been influenced by the name “Dafydd,” a Welsh form of “David”.
In some countries the yellow variation is associated with Easter.
Various cancer charities around the world use the daffodil as a fundraising symbol. “Daffodil Days” are organized to raise funds by offering the flowers in return for a donation. The Canadian Cancer Society was the first to institute Daffodil Days in Toronto in 1957.
Get inspired by some really great images and tattoos in our Narcissus Tattoo Gallery