Have you ever wondered about the beautiful country of Lithuania? I know I have! How does its flag look like? Which are their favorite foods? What is the National Flower of Lithuania? Lithuania is one of the Baltic States and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, just southwest of Sweden. Although it boasts an impressive region, Lithuania is best known for its landscapes, flatlands, abundant forests, and marshes. The stunning shores of Lithuania also boast gorgeous sandy beaches and impressive dunes, attracting tourists year-round.
The world recognizes this country for many things, but one of our favorites is definitely the national flower of Lithuania, the rue. I’m going, to be honest with you, I’d never heard of the Rue until I started looking into the beauty known as Lithuania. Let me tell you, The Rue is a stunning flower and one I think you will really enjoy. Especially once you learn more about it and what you can do with it.
A Little History on the National Flower of Lithuania
Most national flowers usually hail from the country they are recognized, but that isn’t the case when it comes to this fragrant specimen. You see, the rue isn’t only the national flower of Lithuania, it’s also a religious symbol. Originally, Catholic missionaries grew Rue flowers in their own private gardens as a tribute to the Virgin Mary. This actually makes a lot of sense because the Rue is a symbol of virtue and maidenhood.
In the late Middle Ages, Catholic missionaries brought the Rue over to Lithuania. The Rue is such a hardy plant you can find it growing in even the harshest of soils. Because of this, missionaries believed they could protect you from evil, including the evil eye and even snake venom. Other people believe the Rue also has special magical powers and properties to thwart them from evil.
Because the Rue was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is also believed that is the main reason new brides wear headpieces made of this beautiful flower as they walk down the aisle. Stay tuned later in the blog to learn how you can make your own Rue Headpiece!
What Occasions are perfect for sending The Rue
In the past, friends and family turned the Rue into headpieces for the new bride on her wedding day. In modern days, you’ll find the rue at bachelorette parties with the same intent. The Rue is also a great bouquet to send to newlyweds as a symbol of virtue, purity, and pre-marital life.
The Rue symbolizes innocence and purity, and what better way to celebrate than with the baptism of a new life? Rue is a common bouquet given to new parents as they honor their new child and give them a name accepted by the Christian church. If you’re unable to be with the family as they celebrate this momentous occasion, a Rue flower is a great gift to send your love.
Like the baptism, communion is another occasion in which a Rue is quite common with the Lithuanian people. Whether it’s a child’s first communion or it is at their 12 or 14-year-old communion, you’ll always find a plethora of Rue bouquets to mark the festive occasion.
Modern Day Rue uses and symbolism
The Rue was a large part of honoring the Virgin Mary many decades ago, as we’ve learned. But what are the common uses and symbolism Lithuanians use the hardy flower in 2021? While the Rue still makes for a great wedding, baptism, and communion gift, some new uses exist for the lovely Rue.
Medicinally, the Rue has been used in different holistic ways, such as being applied directly to the skin for help with inflammation caused by arthritis, dislocation, earaches, toothaches, and even headaches. People also use the rue as an excellent insect repellent.
Not only is Rue great for minor injuries, but the aromatic scent from The Rue is also potent and makes incredible essential oils. The scent is sharply herbaceous, with a distinct orange scent and bitter, acrid notes. One small warning: the Rue, in its plant form, is not food safe with symptoms including cramping. Some people in Lithuania have been known to steep it in hot water and use a tiny amount of the liquid to add a slightly bitter note to your meal.
How to make your own Rue or any Flower Headpiece
Do you want to make your own Rue headpiece? I’ve already made a few and let me tell you, it’s both simple and quite beautiful. Here’s what you’ll need!
- Florist Wire. You can find this at any craft store and even your local dollar store. (That’s where I got mine!)
- Floral Tape. Again, this is another craft store purchase. You CAN get these at a dollar store as well. However, I find it not to stick as well as the good stuff.
- A sharp pair of scissors. Florist wire isn’t easy to cut, so if you have a pair of wire cutters, I recommend those.
- (Optional) Measuring Tape. You want the kind you can wrap around your head, not the one to measure your nearby wall.
- Rue- This is the main flower you’ll use. Craft Stores are your best bet for a fake arrangement, but we suggest grabbing a beautiful bouquet and making the real thing!
- Baby’s breath- You definitely don’t have to use this. In fact, we encourage you to sprinkle in any type of flower you like to compliment your Rue.
- First, we need to get a clear dimension of the head on which you want your headpiece to sit. Whether it’s yours, your favorite niece, or your best friend, make sure you measure to fit. There are two ways to do this, and both work just as well, in our opinion. Grab your optional measuring tape and wrap it around the thickest part of your head. This should be just below your hairline and will sit right atop your ears. If you don’t have a measuring tape, grab your florist wire, unwrap it from its packaging and wrap a piece around your head that way. While it won’t lay flat like the tape measure will, you’ll still be able to get an accurate size.
- Once you have your measurement, add a little extra to the ends of your wire and wrap your ends together, twisting them, so they form a circle. You can set this piece to the side, and we’ll come back to it later.
- Carefully remove your Rue (and other flowers) from the main bouquet, making sure to keep a decent section of each piece of stem. This next part is optional, but we have found through trial and error that if you wrap some florist tape around your stem, you’re less likely to have breakage while you’re wearing it.
- In this next step, you’ll want to work very carefully to not damage your Rue. Carefully place your stem on your wire headpiece, letting the flower naturally fall towards the outside. Wrap a piece of florist tape around the base of the flower, and continue wrapping it around the stem and the metal florist wire until the entire stem has been taped to the headpiece.
- From there, let your creativity flow. Add as much or as little as you like to cover the florist wire all the way around your head. You can add ribbon, other floral choices, pendants, or anything your heart desires. Have fun with it!
We’d love to see your creations. Make sure to tag @russianflora on Instagram so we can see your Rue Headpiece!
You’ve learned a ton about Lithuania and The Rue. Now what?
- Send a beautiful bouquet to Lithuania for someone you love.
- Wanna learn more? Check out Australia’s National Flower: Golden Wattle
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Shannon Youngblood is a thirty-something blog writer who has an affinity for falling and an extreme love for dachshunds, Dr. Who, and musicals. She loves to write, regardless of the subject matter, and she wishes everyday could be Halloween! Although she was born and raised in the United States, her lifelong goal is to retire somewhere in Europe with her husband, her books, and a cup of hot coffee.