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The Comparative Analysis of the Floral Symbols in the British and Belarusian Modern Cultural Traditions
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Boiko Sylvia Mikhailovna,

Shpakovskaya Kseniya Vladimirovna  Form 7 “a”

Project manager

Zakharchenko Irina Nikolayevna,

the teacher of English

SEI «Starobin Secondary School of Soligorsk District»

Research work The Comparative Analysis of the Floral Symbols in the British and Belarusian Modern Cultural Traditions

International communication has become available for almost all the people in Belarus. It has also become more intensive. People can take part in the celebrating of customs and traditions of other countries. That is why, it is necessary to know some peculiarities of other peoples’ traditions in order not to seem ignorant and careless.

Some spheres of cultural life may seem unimportant and insignificant.  But one can easily get into awkward situation using such a small thing as a flower in the wrong way.

One of such spheres is the use of plants connected with various holidays and traditions. The status of flowers in the world culture is very important. Flowers play certain significance in the life of every country and their role is constantly growing – consider the number of the florist shops! Scientists say man first began to decorate houses with flowers about 6, 000 years ago. 

With the time, the esthetic side of flowers became more symbolic. They began to carry a certain meaning in some cultural traditions. Religious, public and family events have become closely connected with these or those flowers.

Flowers, indeed, are very special. They are not only lovely but express feelings and emotions. “To be a Flower, is profound Responsibility” - Emily Dickinson wrote. [1]

As for the United Kingdom, the warm, mild and wet climate of the British Isles is very favourable for the flora. No doubt, the British people value their floral resources. Communicating with the help of flowers was very popular in the time of Queen Victoria. There even appeared such phenomena as “the language of flowers”. [14] This method of communication is still used by many people. A lot of poets devoted their works to these natural wonders. A lot of artists depicted them on their canvases where flowers as symbols are objects used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

Thanks to the presence of the cultural material in our English textbooks, available Internet resources and communication with our foreign pen-pals we can get a lot of information about the British traditions connected with flowers. We’ve found a Christmas Flower Guide about Christmas traditions. [9] But there aren’t any complete Flower Guides around the main British and Belarusian holidays. We decided to study them and make Floral Guides for practical use.

Every flower can possess some meaning and can be associated with a definite tradition in various cultures. The point is these associations can be quite different. We analyzed some British floral traditions and compared with the Belarusian ones. We also carried out a survey about associations between holidays and flowers to discover if there is any difference in the floral symbolism of our cultures.

We also studied symbolic flowers from the point of protecting flowers in the wildlife.

The choice of this theme was dictated by our interest to the life of people in the UK and also by the growing influence of the western culture and commerce on the floral traditions of Belarus.

Subject of research:

The ground for our research work was the study of the main British and Belarusian holidays and traditions and important events in the life of people which are flower related. They are mentioned in annual calendars and reflected in the authentic material: post cards, gifts, advertisements, as well as works of literature and art.

Subject matter: the floral symbolism in the British cultural traditions as compared with the Belarusian traditions.

Purpose of research: to study and compare the cultural aspects of the British and Belarusian holidays and traditions related to the flowers.

Hypothesis: it is supposed that there are some common floral traditions, there are some different floral traditions, and some British floral traditions will be borrowed and integrated into Belarusian ones.

The following major tasks were accomplished to achieve the above-stated purpose:

  1. The main holidays and events connected with the floral traditions were chosen.
  2. The groups of holidays and events were defined.
  3. The historical analysis of these holidays was accomplished and the results were interpreted.
  4. The causative analysis for celebrating these holidays with the use of flowers was accomplished.
  5. The survey of the associations between flowers and traditions was accomplished.
  6. The works of literature and art devoted to flowers were chosen and analyzed.
  7. The protection of endangered flowers was analyzed.
  8. The statistic analysis was accomplished and the results were interpreted.
  9. The conclusions about the difference in the floral symbols were made.

Methods of research:

  • The cultural study method
  • The historical method
  • The method of literature study
  • The comparative method
  • The statistics method
  • The disposition analysis

The disposition analysis considers the interaction between the artistic symbol and the real life object.

Scientific novelty: this study is the first to accomplish the analysis of both British and Belarusian floral traditions connected with the main holidays and customs; in this study we made an attempt to study the aspects of the floral picture of the world from the point of view of the British and Belarusian people.

Practical value: the materials of the study - Floral Guides- can be used at the English Cultural Study lessons, at optional lessons, at the lessons of History, Geography and Biology; in gardening, while travelling abroad; in floral and jewelry business, in wildlife protection: the suggested floral emblems of the Belarusian regions and the floral emblem of Starobin can help protecting the endangered plants in Belarus; a hand-made brooch “A Cornflower” can promote the idea of patriotism and be economically profitable.

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