Jasmine Flower Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance

Thanks to its fragrant white flowers, the jasmine flower’s (Jasminum) meaning has long been prized across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In various cultural traditions, jasmine flower gifts symbolize love, romance, and sensuality. White jasmine blossoms, in particular, hold the symbolic meaning of purity, motherhood, honor, and respect.

Ultimate Guide to Jasmine Flower Meaning, Types, and Uses

Etymological Meaning

Jasminum comes from the Persian word yassameen, which translates to “gift from God.” The plant is sometimes called “Queen of the Night” due to its tendency to bloom after the sun sets and its associations with intimacy and romance.

The Victorian Language of Flowers

In the Victorian language of flowers, known as floriography, jasmine flowers held a few different symbolic meanings, including love, beauty, sensuality, and grace. These were romantic flowers that could be gifted to lovers and meaningful acquaintances.

To the Victorians, the color of flowers also played a role in what the respective bloom symbolized:

  • White Jasmine: White jasmine is the most common and is often associated with purity, simplicity, and amiability. It’s also linked to deep affection and eternal love, making it a popular choice in bridal bouquets and wedding decorations.
  • Yellow Jasmine: Less common than its white counterpart, yellow jasmine in floriography can represent grace and elegance. However, it’s worth noting that in some interpretations, yellow flowers can carry a message of jealousy.

Javanese Culture

In Javanese culture, jasmine flowers carry lots of symbolic meaning. They often feature in various ceremonial and spiritual practices, notably in Javanese wedding ceremonies where they are crafted into traditional flower arrangements like “Ronce” and “Kembar Mayang,” adorning the bride and groom to symbolize the purity and prosperity of their union.

Jasmine’s association with purity is also seen in religious and ancestral rituals, where it serves as an offering in temples, reflecting its sacred status in the spiritual life of the Javanese people.

Indian Culture

In India, jasmine flowers feature prominently in Hindu religious ceremonies and rituals, where they are offered to deities as a sign of respect and devotion, with Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi often being adorned with jasmine garlands to signify purity and divine love.

Jasmine also regularly features in Indian social traditions, especially in weddings and festivals. Bridal hairstyles, for instance, often feature jasmine flowers.

Thai Culture

In Thai culture, jasmine flowers hold a special place, symbolizing motherhood, love, and respect. The flowers are popular in Thai Mother’s Day celebrations, which coincide with the birthday of Queen Sirikit, regarded as the mother of all Thai people.

On this day, jasmine garlands are traditionally given as tokens of appreciation to mothers, symbolizing the purity, strength, and selflessness of maternal love. The white color of jasmine represents the purity of a mother’s love.

Hawaiian Culture

In Hawaii, the flower commonly associated with jasmine is the Pikake, a type of jasmine (Jasminum sambac) that is highly valued for its sweet, enchanting fragrance.

The name “Pikake” was given by Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani, who was fond of the flower and named it after the peacock, because the beauty of these birds enchanted her in her gardens.

Pikake is particularly cherished in Hawaiian culture for its use in lei making. Leis made of Pikake are considered a symbol of romance, love, and honor, and are often worn for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and hula dances.

14th Century Italy

In 14th century Italy, jasmine was associated with the Virgin Mary, a connection that’s represented in paintings such as “Madonna of the Rose Bower.” Medieval European art often depicted women sitting under a bower of climbing jasmine.

National Flower Emblem

Jasmine flowers are recognized as the national flower in several countries, each valuing the bloom for its unique significance and symbolism within their cultural and national identity.

  • Pakistan: In Pakistan, Jasmine (Jasminum officinale), locally known as “Chambeli,” is the national flower. It symbolizes purity, modesty, simplicity, and grace.
  • Philippines: The Sampaguita Jasmine (Jasminum sambac) is the Philippines’ national flower, known as “Sampaguita.”
  • Indonesia: Jasminum sambac, known locally as “Melati Putih,” is one of Indonesia’s three national flowers, alongside the Moon Orchid and the Rafflesia.
  • Tunisia: In Tunisia, Jasmine holds a special place and is considered a symbol of the country, representing purity, love, and beauty.

Hawaiians often add jasmine, known as there as pikake, into floral leis.

Jasmine Flowers in Hanakatoba

Jasmine blossoms mean graceful or friendly in hanakotoba (the Japanese language of flowers). This meaning and their lovely fragrance make the shrubs or flowers nice, complimentary gifts for anyone you find to be graceful or friendly.

Zodiac Flowers

In the language of zodiac flowers, Jasmine is associated with the star sign Cancer (June 21 to July 22)

Suitable Gifting Occasions

A white vase jug filled with fresh cut jasmine flowers

Jasmine’s striking scent (often described as “heady”) and symbolism of love make it an ideal flower to give for romantic occasions. Anniversaries, weddings, or special date nights are appropriate for Jasmine.

Give jasmine to someone you both look up to and care about because this fragrant flower is also associated with respect. Add jasmine vines to bouquets or vase arrangements to add strong fragrance and soft color.

Wrap Up

With their lovely blossoms and stunning scent, it’s easy to see why jasmine has long been a favorite in the garden and in floral bouquets and arrangements. Jasmine is ideal for letting someone know how much you love and respect them.

Further reading: Discover the most fragrant types of white flowers.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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