Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mums the word in Catasauqua

This morning on my walk I remembered my camera and collected festive fall pictures in Catasauqua.  Then I began to wonder about the Chrysanthemum.  The beautiful colorful flower that tells us Fall is here.

Well, did you know there is the Legend of the Chrysanthemum?  Well there is. In fact there are a few Legends.

According to an ancient Chinese legend, about 3,000 years ago, an emperor was told that the Dragon-fly Island in the Sunrise Sea (Japan) had a magic herb that would restore his youth. But since only youth could collect it, he sent a dozen young men and a dozen girls to the island.

They arrived at the islands after surviving perilous storms and attacks by sea serpents, and finding neither magic herb nor inhabitants on the island, they decided to stay. The prized possession they brought for trading, and now nurtured as a tie with their homeland, was the golden chrysanthemum.

However, Japanese Legend has it that in the beginning, there were so many gods in heaven that some, including the god Izanagi and the goddess Izanami, were sent to the earth on a cloud-bridge.

Once on earth, the goddess created the gods of the winds, mountains, sea, and others, finally dying upon creating the god of fire. Izanagi missed Izanami and so followed her to the place of Black Night where she had gone, only to see vile sights and be pursued by the Old Hag of Black Night.

Narrowly escaping back to the earth, the god Izanagi went straight to the river for a purification bath. As he shed his clothes and they touched the ground, they turned into twelve gods. His jewels became flowers--one bracelet an iris, another a lotus, and his necklace a golden chrysanthemum.


The word "chrysanthemum" comes from the Greek words meaning "golden flower," but a German legend refers to another of the many colors of chrysanthemums. One cold, snowy Christmas Eve in Germany's Black Forest, a peasant family was sitting down to a meager supper when they heard a wailing. At first they thought it was the wind. But upon hearing the sound repeatedly, they opened the door and found a beggar. They ushered in the poor man who was blue with cold, wrapped him in blankets, and shared their food.
Instantly, the blankets were shed, revealing a man in shining white clothing with a halo around his head. Proclaiming himself the Christ Child he fled. The next morning, outside the door where he had stood, were two white chrysanthemums.

Today, many Germans bring white chrysanthemums into their homes on Christmas Eve, believing that by doing so they are sheltering the Christ Child.

So there you have it, who knew a simple flower could have so many stories about it.  I am sure there are more, but I gotta get ready work. And with that it's.....another day in Catasauqua.