The May 8 to celebrate the United States as their national day of bearded iris (National Day Iris – sometimes just short: National Iris Day). Reason enough to give this botanical day of honor a separate entry in the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world and to shed some light on its – ATTENTION punctuation – roots in the following. What is it about?
Who started National Iris Day?
As with so many other US contributions from the calendar of botanical holidays, it is unfortunately also the case in the case of National Iris Day that hardly anything seems to be known about its background or origins. Although most of the popular online calendars list this special day of the irises for May 8th, these publications do not provide specific information about a possible initiator or the exact year of foundation.
At least almost all sources seem to agree that the roots of this national iris day are not to be found in the United States, but in Japan. This above all with reference to the symbolic or spiritual meaning of the plant in Nippon (see also the list of further links below).
Why does National Iris Day fall on May 8th?
The ambiguity outlined above then continues with a view to the selected date. Because why the unknown initiators chose May 8 as the date for the National Iris Day does not seem to have any further justification.
After all, May 8th falls within the typical flowering time of irises, which – depending on the variety and location – develop their magnificent flowers from mid-April (see also the list of related links below). After all.
Whether it also linked to content also celebrated in the US on May 8 Verschenke-a-cupcake day (Engl. National Give Someone a Cupcake Day), the no-socks-day (No Socks Day) or the Drink-a-Cola Day (National Have a Coke Day) or Parents Day in South Korea, I could not find out in the course of research for the present article.
Gardening knowledge: five curious facts about the iris you should know
- From the botanist’s point of view, the numerous species of iris (iris) belong to the subfamily Iridoideae, which are counted among the monocot plants as a separate plant genus in the iridaceae family.
- Contrary to popular belief and a similar name, the irises are only very distantly related to the lilies.
- The hardy plant has its scientific name Iris, which is also common in English and German, because of its yellow, blue or multi-colored petals. For these are also the colors of the rainbow, which the ancient Greeks gave the name Iris (see also the contribution to the US Find-a-Rainbow Day (Engl. Find a Rainbow Day) on April 3).
- Strictly speaking, there is no uniform or fixed flowering time for the entire plant family, as very different subspecies and hybrids have developed over time. What they all have in common, however, is that the plants – at least in our latitudes – are hardy and store their energy in the rhizome during the cold season, in order to then unfold their blooming splendor from April (see also the article on the US-American planting a- Flower Day (National Plant a Flower Day) on March 12th). Incidentally, this is also one of the reasons why the iris species are particularly popular as ornamental plants.
- Finally, let’s come back to the initially assumed Japanese origin of the Day of the Irises. Because iris flowers have a deep spiritual and symbolic meaning in Japan. They are seen as protection against evil spirits, diseases and other forms of evil. Accordingly, in Japan, iris petals are traditionally placed in the bathroom as a protective charm or iris juice is drunk in sake in order to extend the lifespan. But everyone should decide for themselves whether it will ultimately help. 😉
In this sense: Have a great day of the irises to all of you.