Marigold meaning: Discover the true meaning of this beautiful yellow flower

Yellow flowers
Cempoalxóchitl flower

In this article, we are going to talk about marigold meaning and its origins. What this flower meant for the ancient people, and how could you incorporate its meaning into your life. So, let’s take a look at this beautiful plant and find out its different and beautiful meanings.

Yellow marigold flower
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Marigold flower is also known as Tagetes erecta, Mexican marigold or Aztec marigold. In Mexico, people call it the flower of the dead, which is already giving us a hint to one of the meanings of Marigold.

Origins of the marigold flower

Despite the fact that it is a native flower of the Americas, people also often call it African marigold. However, the original Spanish name of this flower is Cempoalxóchitl which consists of two words: ‘cempohualli‘ (twenty) and ‘xóchitl‘ (flower.)

Orange cempasúchil flower meaning
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Naturally, this flower grows in different parts of Mexico such as Puebla and Veracruz. But because of its huge popularity, the cultivation of marigold is spread all over the country. We can also find it grow in Central America and the Caribbean. In Mexico alone, the production of this flower reaches almost 7,000 tons per year. China, India, Zambia, and Australia also produce marigold as a cultivated species.

Marigold meaning
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But the real ‘breakthrough’ of marigold’s popularity was in the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors bring them from America to Europe. Since then, the marigold flower began to spread throughout the whole world.

Characteristics of the marigold flower

People usually recognize this flower from its aromatic stem (the smell is especially strong when you squeeze it.) And of course because of its yellow to orange color which makes them absolutely beautiful.

Yellow cempasúchil flower meaning
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It can grow up to 40 inches, and it only lives in a warm climate. So, if you would like to grow it in your garden, keep in mind it can be really hard if you’re living in northern regions.

Cempasúchil flower meaning
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People in Mexico also call marigold flower the Flor de Muertos and use it during the Day of the dead on November 2. As mentioned before, the word cempasúchil comes from the ancient Aztec language and translates as ‘twentieth flower.’ The reason why people use these flowers during the day of the dead is that they believe that the scent of the marigold illuminates the path for the dead, so they can find the way to the other world.

White cempasúchil
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Another thing people used this flower was for medicine. They knew its healing characteristics way before the Pre-Columbian era. Marigold is rich in carotenoids, mostly in lutein which helps to prevent age-related eye problems such as cataracts and others. In Mexico, people often use Marigold to treat digestive and respiratory disorders. It is also known to help to treat warts, rashes, sores, and insomnia.

Marigold meaning

As we have mentioned before, one of the most popular Marigold meaning is related to death. The association with death is so popular due to its usage on the Day of the Dead. During this festivity, people in Mexico decorate tombs and crypts with this flower to honor the dead. And because of the Day of the Dead, Marigold’s popularity and production increased rapidly. Until today, the Marigold is a very common flower in cemeteries.

Cempasúchil flower
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The Cempoalxóchitl is the flower of funerals. After a person passes away, his relatives make a small path to the coffin from Marigold flowers. This usance symbolizes the path that the deceased person has to go from this world to the afterlife. There is a saying that a deceased person can walk the path to the other world more easy due to the beautiful color and pleasant scent of Marigold’s petals.

So, one of the main marigold meaning is the afterlife. It symbolizes the path that a deceased person has to go through this world to the other. We can also find the Marigold flower represented in Aztec art. The archeologists found Marigold on the Coyolxāuhqui monolith which was also a symbol of death and sovereignty.

Flower of the dead
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Until the arrival of the Spaniards, the Marigold flower also had a role in the rituals of the religious festival in Mexico. During this festival, people celebrated a yellow-colored goddess of the salt called Huixtocíhuatl who sacrificed herself.

Other Marigold meaning

In Honduras, people used the essential oil of the Marigold flower to wash the corpses. In modern times, scientists have found that Marigold’s essential oil is indeed rich in antioxidants. As we have mentioned before, Marigold is rich in lutein which prevents age-related eye problems. So, it is also used as a natural food coloring.

In some Mexico regions, people use Marigold to treat stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and liver problems. It also protects from intestinal parasites and may help to treat flu and bronchitis.

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So, another Marigold meaning is the power of healing. Since the Aztec times, people knew Marigold’s healing properties. And back in those days, they didn’t have science or books to relate on. Their knowledge of the various plants and flowers helped them to treat diseases and to ease the pain. The ancient people venerated plants and flowers because they didn’t have anything else.

Cempasúchil flower
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Today, we have modern medicine and we hardly ever use a flower as a healing remedy. However, we know that flowers and plants that our ancestors used are responsible for our presence today. So, Marigold or any other flower also embodies the whole history of humankind. Marigold flower may signify the respect to our ancestors as well.