It may bring visions of fabulous French countryside or notoriously lavish French rulers to mind. But the Fleur-de-lis symbol has a history that goes well beyond your initial thought. This classic symbol is used with pride all across the globe and has intriguing, mysterious and even glorious stories behind it.
Fleur-de-lis means literally the (de) Lily (lis) Flower (fleur). In Elizabethan times the iris was also called the fleur-de-lis and strangely enough, the symbol resembles the iris much more than a lily.
Perhaps most well known as a symbol of the French monarchy, the fleur-de-lis has been used in the arms of many European royal houses. The King of Spain still has three fleurs-de-lis in the center of his coat of arms, as do other members of the House of Bourbon, perhaps the most well known royal family in French history.
British and Scottish kings and queens of the past also included the symbol in their coat of arms and flags for centuries. Across the Atlantic and getting into more modern history, areas founded and populated with French-speaking citizens such as Quebec and Louisiana, St. Louis and Louisville still use the beautiful symbol as a way to evoke pride and unite their fellow residents.
But this is not just a governmental or heraldic symbol. It has also come to mean so much more, and in a more personal way, throughout history.
Remember Where You Came From
Emigration from Europe into the New World created the nations of today’s North America. But as that first generation established their families here it was generally accepted (and almost expected) that they would still have ties to and associate themselves with their home country.
Even as children and grandchildren were born and the United States and Canada began to take shape, there was a wisdom permeating the culture that it was important to remember where you came from.
Tracing Your Roots
Genealogical research is a booming hobby (and even a business in some cases) that puts great emphasis on family roots. As those long buried memories resurface and people are entranced by them hundreds of years later, the same heraldic symbols take on sentimental meanings.
And along with sentiment comes pride. And along with pride comes the desire to display that which we’re proud of.
Have you noticed the enduring popularity of certain symbols and certain associations? It may be more subtle than a flag on the front porch, but those symbols are there, woven into the décor and style of our homes. They take nothing away from our pride and dedication to the nation we were born into; they merely remind us of the past, our roots and how far we have come.
The fleur-de-lis is perhaps the greatest of these still popular symbols. Even today the gates of Buckingham Palace proudly display golden fleurs-de-lis on the top. The symbol was seen across New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, used to promote awareness and unify the people of the struggling city.
And you can easily include it in your own home décor. Available in different sizes from Outdora, a copper Fleur-de-lis finial can be used on your fence or cupola, on top of the gazebo or in the garden. Subtle and strikingly beautiful, this piece of art will keep the spirit of this symbol alive and well for generations to come.
Modern References and Uses
This is not just an ancient symbol with delicate beauty. It can be seen throughout our modern world and is woven into media, merchandising and community groups alike.
With the soaring popularity of the Da Vinci Code (the novel by Dan Brown led to the movie by Ron Howard), the fleur-de-lis was again cast into the limelight. In the film version, the fleur-de-lis was an obvious choice to be part of a clue left by the Priory of Sion and found by the unlikely hero Robert Langdon. It has long been used in church history and with its deep roots in royal families, also fit the storyline perfectly.
The symbol was used back in the 1993 film version of the Three Musketeers as well, where traitors were branded with it. Look across the bottom of Campbell’s soup labels and you’ll find a row of golden fleurs-de-lis. Even the World Scouting emblem is a large fleur-de-lis.
Include a piece of history, a testament to your family roots and an enduring symbol with multiple layers of meaning in your home décor. Beautiful and intriguing, the fleur-de-lis will always be classic.