Calla lily are striking, bold flowers. Before researching them for this blog, I had never heard their botanical name, zantedeschia aethiopica. That’s a mouth full. Calla lilies are not members of the true lily family—they are in the Araceae family, along with caladium and philodendron. They are native to Africa and have become naturalized in Australia though you can find calla at most florists.
Historically, you will find calla often represented along with the Virgin Mary or the Angel of Annunciation in many paintings. So it is not surprising that they are often shared for Easter. In that context, calla lily signifies holiness, purity and faith.
They make beautiful bouquets for weddings and are available in many more colors than you might realize: yellow, green, orange, purple, pink and almost black. Calla symbolizes magnificent beauty, derived from the Greek word for beauty, kallos. White calla for weddings also signifies divinity, marital bliss and true devotion, all good omens for a marriage. Calla lilies are also often given to mark and celebrate the 6th wedding anniversary so keep that in mind for a future celebration with your love!
The Long Evenings of Their Leavetakings
By Eavan Boland
My mother was married by the water.
She wore a gray coat and a winter rose.
She said her vows beside a cold seam of the Irish coast.
She said her vows near the shore where
the emigrants set down their consonantal n:
on afternoon, on the end of everything, at the start of ever.
Yellow vestments took in light.
A chalice hid underneath its veil.
Her hands were full of calla and cold-weather lilies.
The mail packet dropped anchor.
A black-headed gull swerved across the harbor.
Icy promises rose beside a crosshatch of ocean and horizon.
I am waiting for the words of the service. I am waiting for
keep thee only and all my earthly.
All I hear is an afternoon’s worth of never.