Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are one of the first bulbs to flower and signal the start of spring. The flower is a symbol of hope according to the following legend:
The snowdrop became the symbol of hope when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. When Eve was about to give up hope that the cold winters would never end, an angel appeared. She transformed some of the snowflakes into snowdrop flowers, proving that the winters do eventually give way to the spring.
Another legend says: Long ago, on March 1st, a beautiful snowdrop, white and sweet, went out from under the snow in the forest. The winter wind saw him, flew into a rage and unleashed a storm of snow on the flower. The nice snowdrop bitten by the cold cried. The good fairy called Zana Primavara heard the flower sobbing and asked it : „Why are you crying? „I’m covered with snow and I’m dying of cold” said the snowdrop. The fairy Primavara removed the snow on the flower.While she did that she hurt her finger against a small sharp stone hidden side of snowdrops. Her blood fell on the root of the flower, warmed, and the snowdrop came back to life. Another drop of blood fell on the petals became red .Immediately another snowdrops, white, uttered near her. „Thus the two inseparable bells, the red and white, became both the symbol of spring, love and hope Martisor called.
Because of its flowering date, the snowdrop is the messenger of spring. The snowdrop is closely linked to Martisor/Martenitsa (March). This is the spring festival when the Martenitsa is celebrated on March 1st in countries such as Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria. Traditionally, men offer women a „Martenitsa”, a kind of talisman shaped brooch or pendant made of two twisted son, one red and one white. In Romania everyone offer a” Martenitsa/ Martisor” on March,1st to their friends and family. Traditionally, you have to wear the Martenitsa on you (bracelet or necklace) until you see a stork then you can take it off and hang it up on a tree. This tradition should bring luck into your life all along the year.
The name snowdrop does not mean ‘drop’ of snow, it means drop as in eardrop – the old word for earring.
Snowdrops are also known as known as ‘Candlemas bells‘.
The Latin name for the snow drop is Galanthus, which means „milk flower„.