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Carnations are often worn on special occasions
"Carnations are often worn on special occasions, especially Mother's Day and weddings. They were known as "Jove's Flower" in ancient Rome as a tribute to one of their beloved gods. In Korea, red and pink Carnations are used for showing their love and gratitude toward their parents on Parents Day (Korea does not separate Mother's Day and Father's Day, but has Parents Day on May 8). Sometimes, you can see parents wear a corsage of Carnation(s) on their left chest on Parents Day. Not only on Parents Day, but also on Teacher's Day (May 15), people express their admiration and gratitude to their teachers with Carnations, as Carnation has the meaning of 'admiration', 'love', and 'gratitude'."

"It is the national flower of Spain, and the provincial flower of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. It is also the symbol of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution. The state flower of Ohio is a scarlet carnation. The choice was made to honour William McKinley, Ohio Governor and U.S. President, who was assassinated in 1901, and regularly wore a scarlet carnation on his lapel."

For the most part, carnations express love, fascination, and distinction, though there are many variations dependent on colour:

Birth Flowers ( see flower of the month for a complete list)
"The carnation is the birth flower for those born in the month of January, and the imperial throne of Japan is called the carnation throne. In some cultures, however - especially France and Francophone culture - the carnation symbolises misfortune and bad luck."

"At Oxford University, carnations are traditionally worn to all examinations; white for the first exam, pink for exams in between and a red for the last exam."

Etymology
"Some scholars believe that the name "carnation" comes from "coronation" or "corone" (flower garlands), as it was one of the flowers used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Others think the name stems from the Latin "caro" (genitive "carnis") (flesh), which refers to the original colour of the flower, or incarnatio (incarnation), which refers to the incarnation of God made flesh."

"Although originally applied to the species Dianthus caryophyllus, the name Carnation is also often applied to some of the other species of Dianthus, and more particularly to garden hybrids between D. caryophyllus and other species in the genus."

Definition
"Dianthus caryophyllus (Clove Pink) is a species of Dianthus. It is probably native to the Mediterranean region but its exact range is unknown due to extensive cultivation for the last 2,000 years. It is the wild ancestor of the garden Carnation."

"It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall. The leaves are glaucous greyish green to blue-green, slender, up to 15 cm long. The flowers are produced singly or up to five together in a cyme; they are 3–5 cm diameter, and sweetly scented; the original natural flower colour is bright pinkish-purple, but cultivars of other colours, including red, white, yellow and green, have been developed."

Mother's Day and Carnations in tradition:
"Mother's Day and Carnation have had an association for a very long time because according to a Christian legend, this is the plant that sprung up when Jesus Christ's mother Mary shed tears of distress seeing her son enduring sufferings with the cross. Anna Jarvis, in 1907, chose carnation as the emblem of Mother's Day. Anna Jarvis distributed carnations in St. Andrew's Methodist Episcopal church in West Virginia."

"White carnation is thought to be ideal for Mother's Day because according to Jarvis, whiteness stood for qualities like purity, faithfulness, fragrance, and love."

"White carnations are associated with the sad feeling of mother being absent, either due to death or due to the distance that separates the mother and the child. Red and pink carnations symbolize the feelings of affection for a mother who is alive.'
Growing Carnations
"Carnations require well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil, and full sun. Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden planting. Typical examples include 'Gina Porto', 'Helen', 'Laced Romeo', 'Red Rocket'.

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External Links
Mothers Day carnations from the www.theflowerexpert.com

Resources:
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article dianthus/and other related pages. Top Photo by:
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A look into National Holidays
List of all National Garden Holidays
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Fragrance Day / National Salad Month
The carnation is the Birth Flower  for those born in the month of January, but did you know they have their own holiday too?

National Carnation Day
National Carnation Day is celebrated each and every year in America on January 29!
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  Januarys Flower is the Carnation!
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