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Let’s sit back and smell the Irises, dear friends. Okay, perhaps that’s not exactly how the saying goes. But maybe it should be! Because these delicate flowers are, at least in some respects, head and shoulder over that dusty, old, bygone, called the rose!

History of Iris Day

The fresh, sumptuous luster of the iris’s dewy, iridescent blossoms on a spring day, and the perky, shivery, curious stem scouting the air and the mesmerizing blush of rainbow colors make this bulb flower a sight for anyone’s sore eyes. The name ‘iris’ comes from the Greek word for ‘rainbow’ and most mythology adepts will say that Iris was the messenger of the gods. She was the link between sea and sky, or the rainbow glider, if you will.

In the country of Belgium, Iris Day has a rich history that includes the celebration of democracy over facism. In fact, Iris Day in Belgium is part of the Iris Festival that is celebrated on May 8. The date is significant for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is a symbolic day for the victory over the Nazis in World War II. In addition, Iris Day takes place on the same day as the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, who is considered to be a patron saint of the city of Brussels, the capital of Belgium.

After World War II, Iris Day was a public holiday in Belgium for a few decades until, in 1974, it was removed from the list. However, it seems that many people and government representatives desire to bring Iris Day back as not only a local or regional festival, but also as a paid public holiday.

Because the Iris is in bloom in Belgium during this time of year, it was natural that the flower became associated with the beauty and freedom that democracy brings. And folks not only in Belgium but all over the world can enjoy this Iris Day for the spectacular flower as well as the meaning behind it!

How to Celebrate Iris Day

Those who have a green thumb may be especially adept at joining in on the celebration of Iris Day! Have a load of delight by observing the day with some of the following activities and ideas:

Plant Some Iris Bulbs

Because, depending on the weather zone a person lives in, Iris day may be an ideal time to get those iris bulbs into some dirt. Those in cooler climates may need to wait until full-on summertime, like July, August or even September. Grow some irises in containers for a couple of months until they are ready to be placed outdoors. And then get ready to see blooms in the following season!

Learn About World War II History

As up and coming generations are further removed from the Second World War, it’s important to keep the memory of this important event alive so that future generations can learn from history and prevent it from repeating itself. 

Here are some important things to remember about World War II in association with Belgium’s Iris Day celebration:

  • Starting with the invasion of Poland in 1939, World War II continued until the victory of the Allies over the Nazi regime took place on May 8, 1945.

  • At least six million Jewish people were abused, tortured and lost their lives to the Holocaust of WWII.

  • All told, World War II claimed the lives of at least 60 million people.

Gift Irises to Someone Special

Doesn’t the idea of Iris Day provide just the inspiration to go out and find a bunch of irises to give to a girlfriend (or boyfriend!), mother, daughter or sister right now? It should, because on Iris Day, all is forgiven for those who are willing to bring a bunch of these to that special someone; so for those who have been naughty, now’s the time to be nice.

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