The carnation, like the rose, is a flower associated with weddings and love. This flower rivals the rose at Valentine's Day. Its beauty flourishes as it continues to be popular and practical filler in any bouquet. The carnation looks beautiful with any flower! Distinguished by layers of petals in a variety of hues, the carnation is associated with different meanings by the color that it takes. The red carnation takes the meaning of "alas poor heart." Pink carnations show that the sender will never forget the receiver. Purple carnations symbolize capriciousness. Striped carnations mean "sorry I can't be with you," while white carnations show innocence.
There are different theories on how this flower was named. One theory was that the carnation was named for coronation, because of how the carnations were used to make ceremonial crowns, or flower garlands, in Greece. The name could come from "carnis" meaning "flesh," referring to the flesh color of the flower. Another idea is that the carnation became the "carnation" from "incarnacyon" or "incarnation." The incarnation of God made flesh...and so that "flesh" named the carnation. This last theory also explains how the carnation became a symbol of marriage.
On Mother's Day, it has been a tradition to wear either a red carnation symbolizing a mother that is alive, or wear a white carnation symbolizing a mother that has passed on.