The birth month flower for October is the calendula, also known as the pot marigold (so called because traditionally it was used to add flavor and color to meals in the cooking pot, as well as in salads.) The name calendula comes from Latin, for the word meaning ‘first day of the month’, and came about because the calendula can be found flowering almost the whole year round where they are natively grown. Just like the sunflower, the face of the calendula blossom follows the sun; as a result, some gave it the name “Sun’s Bride.” The name marigold refers to “Mary’s Gold” and early Christians often grew marigolds near statues of the Virgin Mother. Their use in religious services far pre-date Christianity, though, with Indians placing garlands of marigolds around sacred statues, and Mayan priests washing their face and hands with calendula-infused water before calling on the spirits. The flower heads can reach almost three inches across, and come in a variety of colors, from yellow, through orange and gold, to red, giving them other nicknames, such as goldbloom and holligold (for holy gold.)
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Calendula has many meanings, some contradictory. The Romans found great happiness in its near-constant blooming, and planted it to spread joy and good cheer. Today, though, the flower is commonly to be found in graveyards, and the more usual flower meaning is one of sympathy, sorrow, sadness and grief, and the message that is sent with marigolds is “my thoughts are with you.” You might not want to be too forthcoming with this message if you’re giving them to someone who’s a little sensitive about their age; stick with the Roman message of happiness and joy.
The alternative birth month flower for October is the cosmos, a delightfully fragrant flower that comes in a variety of colors, and give the meaning of peacefulness, wholeness and modesty. There is a variety of cosmos, Cosmos atrosanguineus, more commonly known as “Chocolate Cosmos” that smells very much like chocolate.