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The Symbolism of Flowers

The quebec ”fleur de lys”


Every Quebecer recognises the importance of the Fleurdelisé (Fleur de Lys), the provincial flag. The Fleur de Lys, literaly translated as : The Lily Flower, became the symbol for Quebec and its population, a sign of belonging to a francophone culture in America. This symboly is, however, slightly misguided. It is not actually a lily flower, but and iris! What poor botanist is to blame for this mistake? Is it even really a mistake?

The history of the “Fleur de lys”

In 1948, Maurice Duplessis announced the deployment of the first official Quebec flag (not Canadian) at the parlement. Inspired by the Carillon, a popular flag used by patriots a hundred years or so before, the Quebec “Fleur de Lys” readjusts the “lillies” that pointed towrds the white cross’s center. every element of this flag has a particular significance which changes with the years to reflect the population, constantly evolving.

First of all, the blue used to make this flag originally symbolised the Virgin Mary, Quebec being an officially catholic and pious nation in those days. Nowadays, the shade of blue darkened to royal blue, which holds a more historic symbolism, to represent the coat of arms of the French kings that ruled of La Nouvelle-France or New France. The white cross has a similar history, representing christianism at its very beginning, and is now more of a reminder of the flag the Kingdom of France waved as it concquered New France.

Finaly, the lilies represent the French royalty, who adopted its symbolism more than a thousand years ago. In fact, one of the first representation of the fleur de lys in association with French royalty was on Clovis the First’s flag, who is considered the first king of France (507 a.c.e). This golden lily is an stylised adaptation of the yellow irises that grew on the banks f the Lys River, in Beligum, which used to be a part of the Kingdom of France. This flower comes from Lys, which makes a flower from Lys, which, in French also means the Lily flower.