Maple leaf meaning.

Maple leaf meaning.

History of use in Canada.

Maple leaf.By the early 1700s, the maple leaf had been adopted as an emblem by the French Canadians along the Saint Lawrence River. Its popularity with French Canadians continued and was reinforced when, at the inaugural meeting of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1834, the maple leaf was one of numerous emblems proposed to represent the society. Speaking in its favour, Jacques Viger, the first mayor of Montreal, described the maple as “the king of our forest; … the symbol of the Canadian people.”

Canada FlagThe maple leaf slowly caught on as a national symbol: in 1868, it was included in the coat of arms of Ontario and the coat of arms of Quebec, and was added to the Canadian coat of arms in 1921. Historically, the golden maple leaf had represented Ontario, while the green maple leaf had represented Quebec. In 1867, Alexander Muir composed the patriotic “The Maple Leaf Forever”, which became an unofficial anthem in English-speaking Canada. From 1876 until 1901, the leaf appeared on all Canadian coins, and remained on the penny after 1901. During the First World War, badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were often based on a maple leaf design. The use of the maple leaf as a regimental symbol extended back to the 1800s, and Canadian soldiers in the Second Boer War were distinguished by a maple leaf on their sun helmets. In 1957 the maple leaf colour on the Canadian arms was changed from green to red – some maple leaves are commonly red even in spring as they bud & no seasonal colouring has been assigned heraldically.

The maple leaf finally became the central national symbol with the introduction of the Canadian flag (suggested by George F. G. Stanleyand sponsored by M.P. John Matheson) in 1965, which uses a highly stylized eleven-pointed maple leaf, referring to no specific species of maple. Earlier official uses of a maple leaf design often used more than 30 points and a short stem. The one chosen is a generic maple leaf representing the ten species of maple tree native to Canada—at least one of these species grows natively in every province.

The maple leaf is currently used on the Canadian flag, logos of various Canadian-based companies (including Canadian subsidiaries of foreign companies and small businesses with only local operations) and the logos of Canadian sports teams. Examples include Air Canada, McDonald’s Canada, General Motors Canada, the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL franchise, the Toronto FC soccer club, and Wendy’s Canada (using the maple leaf in place of the normal apostrophe found at U.S. locations). It is also used by the Federal Government as a personification and identifier on its websites, as part of the government’s wordmark.

Since 1979, the Royal Canadian Mint has produced gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion coins, which are officially known as Maple Leafs, as geometric maple leaves are stamped on them. The Trans Canada Highway uses a green maple leaf.

Other uses.

The Italian city of Campobasso was known as “Canada City” or in a minor way “Maple Leaf City”, since during the Second World War, Canadian troops invaded the city and freed it from the Germans. Moreover, the city has a huge variety of maples which can be found even in the streets.

The U.S. city of Carthage, Missouri is nicknamed “America’s Maple Leaf City.

It is one of the featured symbols on the emblem of the Pakistani province of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, along with several other regional institutions due to the tree’s prevalence in the area.

The city of Chehalis, Washington was known as “The Maple-Leaf City”.

The city of Hornell, New York is known as “The Maple City”.

The mascot of Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, is the Maple Leaf and the nickname for Goshen College sports teams is the Maple Leafs.

In Estonia and Lithuania, inexperienced drivers are obliged to have a green maple leaf sign visible on the vehicle, serving a similar function that a P-plate does in some other countries.

The maple leaf was also featured on the coat of arms of Sammatti, Finland.

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Oak leaf meaning.

Oak leaf meaning.

Oak leaf jewellery.Throughout the major cultures of Europe the oak tree has been held in high esteem. To the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Slavs and Teutonic tribes the oak was foremost amongst venerated trees, and in each case associated with the supreme god in their pantheon, oak being sacred to Zeus, Jupiter, Dagda, Perun and Thor, respectively. Each of these gods also had dominion over rain, thunder and lightning, and it is surely no coincidence that oak trees appear to be more prone to lightning strikes than other trees, whether because of their wood’s low electrical resistance or the fact that they were frequently the largest, tallest living things in the landscape.

The Druids frequently worshipped and practised their rites in oak groves (the word Druid was probably a Gaelic derivation of their word for oak, Duir, and meant men of the oaks). Mistletoe, probably the Druids’ most potent and magical plant, frequently grew on oak trees and its presence was believed to indicate the hand of God having placed it there in a lightning strike.

Ancient kings presented themselves as the personifications of these gods, taking on the responsibility not only for success in battle but also the fertility of the land, which relied on rainfall. They wore crowns of oak leaves, as a symbol of the god they represented as kings on Earth. Similarly, successful Roman commanders were presented with crowns of oak leaves during their victory parades, and oak leaves have continued as decorative icons of military prowess to the present day.

Perhaps because of the oak’s size and presence, much of its folklore concerns specific, individual oak trees. Many parishes used to contain what became known as the Gospel Oak, a prominent tree at which part of the Gospel was read out during the Beating of the Bounds ceremonies at Rogantide in spring. In Somerset stand the two very ancient oaks of Gog and Magog (named after the last male and female giants to roam Britain), which are reputed to be the remnants of an oak-lined processional route up to the nearby Glastonbury Tor. The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest is purported to be the tree where Robin Hood and his Merry Men hatched their plots

In Leicestershire the Topless Oaks in Bradgate Park were said to have been pollarded as a sign of mourning following the beheading, in 1554, of Lady Jane Grey who had lived at the nearby Bradgate Hall. After the battle of Worcester in 1651 King Charles II hid from the Roundheads in a large oak at Boscobel. In 1660 he instigated the 29th of May as Royal Oak Day to celebrate the restoration of the monarchy.

Children would wear oak leaves (or better still, oak apples) as part of a custom which officially lasted until 1859 but in fact continued until well into the twentieth century. Once again the symbol of oak leaves had royal connections. And so it won’t be a surprise which plant was the clan badge of the Royal Clan Stewart.

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Holly leaf meaning.

HOLLY

Holly leafChristian symbolism connected the prickly leaves with Jesus’ crown of thorns and the berries with the drops of blood shed for humanity’s salvation, as is related, for example, in the Christmas carol, ‘The Holly and the Ivy’. Yet even here the reference to these two plants refers to a pre-Christian celebration, where a boy would be dressed in a suit of holly leaves and a girl similarly in ivy, to parade around the village, bringing Nature through the darkest part of the year to re-emerge for another year’s fertility.

Holly was also brought into the house variously to protect the home from malevolent faeries or to allow faeries to shelter in the home without friction between them and the human occupants. Whichever of prickly-leaved or smooth-leaved holly was brought into the house first dictated whether the husband or wife respectively were to rule the household for the coming year.

In Celtic mythology the Holly King was said to rule over the half of the year from the summer to the winter solstice, at which time the Oak King defeated the Holly King to rule for the time until the summer solstice again.

However the folklore of the holly is not solely connected with Yuletide festivities. Like several other native trees it was felt to have protective properties, and there were taboos against cutting down a whole tree. Hollies were frequently left uncut in hedges when these were trimmed. A more arcane reason for this was to obstruct witches who were known to run along the tops of hedges

Holly trees were traditionally known for protection from lightning strikes, to which end they were planted near a house. In European mythology, holly was associated with thunder gods such as Thor and Taranis. We now know that the spines on the distinctively-shaped holly leaves can act as miniature lightning conductors, thereby protecting the tree and other nearby objects. Modern science occasionally catches up with an explanation for what may previously have been dismissed as superstitious lore!

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Birch leaf meaning.

Birch – ‘Lady of the Woods’

Birch leaf jewellery.Birch is one of the first trees to come into leaf and is a representation of the emergence of spring.  In early Celtic mythology, the birch came to symbolise renewal and purification. It was celebrated during the festival of Samhain (now Halloween in Britain), the start of the Celtic year, when purification was also important. Bundles of birch twigs were used to drive out the spirits of the old year. Birch besoms, or brooms were also the archetypal witches’ broomsticks, used in their shamanic flights, perhaps after the use of extracts of the fly agaric mushrooms commonly found in birchwoods.

Deities associated with birch are mostly love and fertility goddesses, such as the northern European Frigga and Freya. Eostre (from whom we derive the word Easter), the Anglo Saxon goddess of spring was celebrated around and through the birch tree between the spring equinox and Beltane.

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