Unlocking the Meaning: What Does the Marigold Symbolize and Why It’s Important

When we think of marigolds, we usually associate them with their bright, bold colors and pleasant fragrance. But did you know that marigolds are also infused with symbolism and meanings that are worth exploring? Across cultures and history, the marigold has been more than just a pretty flower, it has been a powerful symbol of emotions, beliefs, and values.

In the Mexican and South American traditions, the marigold represents the Day of the Dead celebrations. The vibrant yellow and orange petals are often used to decorate altars, graves, and offerings to honor the deceased and welcome their spirits back to the living world. The marigold is also believed to have cleansing powers that can help purify the souls of those who have passed away.

In other cultures, the marigold carries different connotations. In Victorian England, for instance, the marigold was linked to jealousy and cruelty, and was believed to ward off evil spirits. In Hinduism, marigolds are associated with the goddess of prosperity and are used in rituals and festivals to attract wealth and good fortune. As you can see, marigolds are more than meets the eye and are a fascinating study of the depth of human emotions and beliefs.

History of Marigold Symbolism

For centuries, the marigold has been a symbol of many different things throughout various cultures and religions across the world. The history of the marigold symbolism dates back to ancient times, where it was used as a medicinal herb, food flavoring, and dye for textiles. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered marigold flowers to be a sign of warmth and creativity, while the Egyptians believed that the flowers have healing properties.

The marigold’s spiritual significance began to emerge in the Middle Ages when it was used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary. In some religious texts, the marigold is referred to as “Mary’s Gold” because it was used to represent the pure and compassionate heart of the Virgin. The flower later became associated with Christianity and was used in Catholic ceremonies, where it was considered as a symbol of the Resurrection and were used to decorate crosses during Easter celebrations.

Some common meanings that marigold symbolizes:

  • Purity, innocence, and devotion
  • Desire and passion
  • Good luck, prosperity, and abundance
  • Comfort, joy, and happiness
  • Remembrance of the dead

Marigold Symbolism in Different Cultures:

The marigold’s meaning varies from culture to culture. In Mexico, the marigold is a symbol of the Day of the Dead, where it is used to honor and remember the deceased loved ones, and they make offerings using marigold flowers. In India, the flower’s different colors represent different characteristics. For example, the saffron-colored marigold represents courage, while the white flower symbolizes peace.

In Western culture, marigolds have long been valued for their beauty and decorative purposes. Marigold flowers are often used as ornamental plants in gardens and as cut flowers in floral arrangements. The bright and vibrant shade of yellow or orange of the marigold flowers is believed to have a positive effect on mood and bring joy and happiness to any space.

The Different Marigold Types and their Meanings:

Marigolds come in different colors, and each shade holds a different meaning. Here is a table that shows the different marigold types and their meanings:

Marigold VarietyColorMeaning
French MarigoldRedPassion, bravery, and courage
African MarigoldYellowGood luck, prosperity, and success
Signet MarigoldOrangeSacred devotion and creativity
Mexican MarigoldOrangeRemembrance and honor


The marigold is a beautiful and versatile flower that holds different meanings across diverse cultures and religions. From being used as a symbol for the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages to its use in Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, the marigold has a rich and fascinating history of symbolism. Additionally, each color variety of this flower holds unique meanings, making it even more meaningful and versatile. Whether you’re looking to bring joy and happiness or honor your loved ones, the marigold is undoubtedly a meaningful and significant choice.

Marigold Symbolism in Religious Traditions

The marigold has been a symbol of various religious traditions around the world for centuries. Its bright petals and strong fragrance have made it a popular choice for religious ceremonies and offerings. In this section, we will take a closer look at the marigold symbolism in different religions.

  • Hinduism: In Hinduism, the marigold is associated with various gods and goddesses, including Lord Vishnu and his wife, Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that the bright color and strong fragrance of marigolds please the gods and goddesses and bring good luck and prosperity.
  • Catholicism: In Catholicism, marigolds are commonly used during the Day of the Dead celebrations as an offering to the souls of deceased loved ones. The bright orange color of marigolds is believed to help guide the spirits back to the world of the living.
  • Buddhism: In Buddhism, marigolds are often used as offerings during prayer and meditation. The bright color of marigolds is believed to represent wisdom and enlightenment.

The marigold’s symbolism goes beyond religious traditions and can also be seen in various cultural practices. For example, in Mexico, marigolds are commonly used during the Day of the Dead celebrations, where they are used to make garlands, wreaths, and altars. In India, marigolds are also used for decoration during weddings and other auspicious occasions.

Overall, the marigold’s symbolism in religious traditions varies depending on the culture and religion. However, its bright color and strong fragrance make it a popular choice for ceremonial and cultural practices around the world.

Marigold Symbolism in Mexican culture

The marigold (Tagetes erecta) is a staple of Mexican culture, with its use dating back to pre-Hispanic times. This flower holds a special significance in Mexican tradition, often used in various festivities, including Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. The marigold’s bright color, its association with the sun, and strong odor, make it a popular flower, believed to attract the spirits of the dead.

The Number Three in Marigold Symbolism

The number three has significant meaning in marigold symbolism in Mexican culture. It is often believed that the three petals that make up each marigold flower represent the three stages of life; birth, life, and death. The petals that fall represent the transience of life, and the cycle of existence. Furthermore, it is customary to arrange marigolds in clusters of three, also known as a “trinity of flowers.”

  • The marigold’s association with the number three extends beyond just the flower itself.
  • In Mexican culture, the “trinity of death” comprises three deaths that a person experiences – the first physical death, the second passing when the body is laid to rest, and the third death when their memory is forgotten. Marigolds are believed to help preserve the memory of loved ones through this cycle of death.
  • Another example of the number three is the three-day celebration of Dia de los Muertos, which begins on October 31st.

Other Symbolism of Marigolds in Mexican Culture

The marigold is also linked to other important cultural symbols that hold great significance in Mexican history. For example, the Aztecs believed that the sun represented the heart of the earth, and the marigold, with its golden color, was a symbol of its rays. The flower’s strong, pungent odor, similar to that of copal, also played a significant role in ancient rituals.

Marigolds are used to create ofrendas or altars for Dia de los Muertos, which typically include the deceased’s favorite foods, candles, and other items that evoke their memory. Marigolds are often used in decorations and can be found in wreaths, bouquets, and garlands. The vibrant orange color of the petals represents the sun and life, contrasting with the black of death and mourning. Additionally, marigold petals are sometimes used to create a path or trail to guide the spirits of the deceased back to the ofrenda.


The marigold holds great significance in Mexican culture, with its symbolism deeply rooted in tradition and history. The number three, with its ties to the cycle of life and death, is just one aspect of its rich symbolism. From its connection to the sun to its use in altars for Dia de los Muertos, the marigold remains an integral part of Mexican culture and tradition.

Symbolism of Marigolds in Mexican CultureExamples
The number three– Three petals representing the three stages of life
– The “trinity of death”
– Three-day celebration of Dia de los Muertos
Sun symbolism– Marigold as a symbol of the sun’s rays
– Vibrant orange petals representing the sun and life
Altar decorations– Marigolds used in wreaths, bouquets, and garlands
– Petals used to guide spirits back to the ofrenda

Whether it is used during celebrations, as a symbol of remembrance, or as a decoration, the marigold remains a powerful symbol in Mexican culture, embodying the cycle of life and death.

Marigold Symbolism in Hindu Culture

Marigolds are a significant part of Hindu culture and are used in various religious ceremonies and festivals. They are loaded with symbolism and are regarded as auspicious flowers that bring good luck and prosperity. Here, we will focus on the marigold symbolism in Hindu culture.

One of the most commonly used flowers is the yellow-orange marigold, whose color symbolizes auspiciousness, purity, and enlightenment. This flower is deemed to be the favorite of Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi. Hence, Marigolds are employed to decorate their idols during the widely celebrated Hindu festival – Diwali.

  • Four petals – The marigold has four petals, representing the four directions that connect to the universe, symbolizing harmony and unity.
  • Good Luck – Hindus associate marigolds with good luck. They believe that marigolds can help ward off evil forces and bestow good luck, growth, and prosperity.
  • Devotion – Marigold flowers are symbols of devotion and are often offered in prayer to various gods and goddesses.

Marigold flowers are also used during weddings as decorations and are given to newlyweds as symbols of blessings for a prosperous and harmonious married life.

Furthermore, marigolds are used to create garlands and adornment for Hindu temples. The garlands of marigolds signify purity, sincerity, and it is a form of respect offered to the deity.

Marigold Flower ColorSymbolism
Yellow and GoldWealth, knowledge, and prosperity.
OrangeAuspiciousness and purity.
RedPassion, energy, and courage.

There is no denying that marigolds are essential in Hindu culture. Their vibrant colors and symbolism of good luck, purity, and devotion have been an important part of Hindu customs and traditions. They bring an element of beauty and spirituality to various ceremonies and occasions, making them an important part of Hindu culture.

Marigold Symbolism in Victorian Era

The Victorian era, which lasted from 1837 until 1901, was a time of great social change and cultural significance. During this time, flowers became an important symbol of emotions, and the marigold was one of the flowers which held great significance in the Victorian era.

  • The marigold was used to symbolize grief and mourning after the death of a loved one. In Victorian times, it was common to send a bouquet of marigolds to a family which had recently lost someone to express condolence and offer comfort.
  • During the Victorian era, the marigold was also seen as a symbol of courage and bravery. Its bright and vibrant colors were often associated with the sun, which was seen as a symbol of resilience and strength. Therefore, the marigold was often given to soldiers who were heading off to war as a gesture of good luck and to impart strength and courage.
  • Marigolds were also given to people who were going on long journeys or embarking on new adventures to wish them good luck and safe travels. The bright and vivid colors of the marigold was believed to protect the traveler and see them through their journey safely.

Aside from its symbolic meaning, marigolds were also popular in Victorian times for their medicinal properties. They were used to treat a variety of ailments such as upset stomachs and headaches.

Overall, the Victorian era saw the marigold as an ornamental flower with significant symbolic meaning. Its bright and vivid colors, as well as its medicinal properties, made it an important part of Victorian culture.

Grief and mourningExpressing condolence and offering comfort
Courage and braveryGiving strength and imparting good luck
Safe travelsProtecting the traveler and ensuring a safe journey

The marigold may have had different meanings in other cultures and traditions throughout history, but during the Victorian era, it was undoubtedly seen as a flower with deep symbolic significance.

Marigold Symbolism in Literature and Poetry

The marigold has been a popular symbol in literature and poetry for centuries. It has been used to represent a wide range of concepts, from love and romance to grief and death. Here are some notable examples:

  • Love: In Shakespeare’s play “A Winter’s Tale,” the character Florizel gives his love interest Perdita a bouquet of marigolds.
  • Grief: In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” the character Hester Prynne wears a marigold as a symbol of her shame and sorrow.
  • Death: In the poem “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray, the line “The glow-worm shows the matin to be near, And ‘gins to pale his uneffectual fire” is often interpreted to refer to the marigold, which was traditionally associated with death and mourning.

But perhaps the most common use of the marigold in literature and poetry is as a symbol of the sun. The bright, yellow petals of the marigold are reminiscent of the sun’s blazing rays, and the flower’s ability to thrive in hot, dry conditions has led many cultures to associate it with the sun’s life-giving properties.

For example, in Hindu mythology, the marigold is sacred to the sun god Surya and is often used in religious ceremonies and rituals. In Mexican culture, marigolds are used to create elaborate decorations for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival, which honors deceased loved ones and celebrates the cycle of life and death.

AuthorTitleSymbolic Use of Marigold
William ShakespeareA Winter’s TaleLove
Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet LetterGrief
Thomas GrayElegy in a Country ChurchyardDeath

Overall, the marigold’s rich history and versatile symbolism have made it a popular choice among writers and poets throughout the ages.

Marigold Symbolism in Art and Paintings

Marigolds have long been a popular subject in art and paintings, and their symbolism has been depicted in various ways. Here are some of the ways marigold symbolism has been portrayed in art:

  • Representing death and mourning: In Mexican culture, marigolds are commonly used to decorate ofrendas or altars during Dia de los Muertos, a holiday that honors the dead. The marigold’s strong fragrance and vibrant colors are believed to guide spirits back to the living world. Depictions of marigolds in artwork during this holiday often include skulls and other symbols of death.
  • Symbol of the sun: The marigold’s bright yellow and orange colors have been used to represent the sun in various forms of art. In some cultures, the marigold is even known as “the flower of the sun.” Paintings of marigolds often show them blooming towards the sun or surrounded by rays of light.
  • Symbol of love and devotion: In Victorian times, marigolds were sometimes included in bouquets and given as a symbol of love and devotion. Paintings of marigolds during this time period often featured them alongside other romantic symbols such as roses and doves.
  • Symbol of good fortune: In some cultures, marigolds are believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Paintings of marigolds in these cultures may include symbols of wealth and abundance such as coins or jewelry.

While the meaning behind marigold symbolism may vary from culture to culture and from artist to artist, there is no denying the beauty and vibrancy these flowers bring to any piece of art.

Here is a table summarizing the different interpretations of marigold symbolism in art:

Death and mourningUsed in Dia de los Muertos celebrations to honor the dead
SunRepresents the sun and its rays of light
Love and devotionGiven as a symbol of love and devotion
Good fortuneBelieved to bring good luck and prosperity

No matter what symbolism is depicted, marigolds continue to be a beloved subject for artists and painters, and their bright colors and unique shapes make them a joy to behold.

Marigold Symbolism in Weddings and Celebrations

Marigolds are beautiful flowers that have a special significance in certain cultures. They are used in weddings and other celebrations for their symbolic meanings. One of the most common meanings of marigolds is associated with love, passion, and auspiciousness.

  • In Indian culture, marigolds are used extensively in weddings for their vibrant color and auspicious symbolism. They are considered to be a favorite flower of the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and are used to decorate the wedding venue and the bridal party.
  • In Mexico, marigolds are an important part of the Day of the Dead festival, where they are used to create colorful altars to honor deceased loved ones. The flowers are believed to guide the spirits towards the offerings and bring them back to the land of the living for a visit.
  • Marigolds are also a popular choice for Chinese weddings, where they symbolize happiness and good fortune. The flowers are used to decorate the bride’s hair and the wedding venue, and are often given as a gift to the newlyweds.

Another important symbolic meaning of marigolds is their association with the number 8.

Number 8 Symbolism in MarigoldsMeaning
The eight petals of the marigold flowerProsperity and good luck
The presence of eight marigold flowers in a bouquetA wish for good fortune and success in all areas of life
Eight marigolds placed in a vase or bowlA wish for abundance and wealth

Overall, marigolds are a versatile and meaningful flower that have a special place in many cultures. Whether they are used in weddings, festivals, or other celebrations, these beautiful flowers bring with them a message of love, happiness, and good fortune.

Marigold Symbolism for Healing and Medicinal Purposes

Marigolds are not only known for their vibrant colors and decorative purposes. As a matter of fact, these flowers have been used for centuries as treatment for various ailments in different cultures worldwide. Let’s take a look at what marigolds symbolize when it comes to healing and medicinal properties in different aspects:

Number 9: Marigolds for Stress Relief

Marigold tea is known to have soothing and relaxing properties, which makes it perfect for people with high levels of stress. According to a study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, marigold tea helps reduce anxiety symptoms in women going through menopause. Furthermore, studies have shown that the scent of marigold essential oil can help improve mood and promote calmness. Adding marigold to your daily routine may help you manage stress more efficiently.

Other Uses of Marigold for Medicinal Purposes

  • Marigolds have anti-inflammatory properties, hence they are used to treat inflammation and swelling.
  • Marigold is known for its antiseptic properties, making it useful for treating wounds, cuts, and minor skin irritations.
  • Marigold is also used to treat digestive issues such as stomach ulcers and constipation.

Marigold in Traditional Medicine

Marigold has been used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. In Chinese medicine, marigold is used to support the liver and improve blood circulation. In Ayurvedic medicine, marigold is used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and acne. The ancient Greeks and Romans used marigold as a remedy for various illnesses as well.

Marigold as a Source of Antioxidants

The petals of marigold flowers are rich in antioxidants, which are known for their ability to prevent damage caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals have been linked to various health problems such as cancer and heart disease. Drinking marigold tea or using marigold in your meals can help boost your intake of antioxidants.

Medicinal Properties of MarigoldBenefits
Anti-inflammatoryReduces inflammation and swelling
AntisepticTreats wounds and minor skin irritations
AntioxidantPrevents damage caused by free radicals
SedativePromotes relaxation and helps reduce anxiety

Marigold is a versatile flower that can be used for various medicinal and healing purposes. Whether you are looking to manage stress, boost your intake of antioxidants, or treat minor skin irritations, marigold can help. Incorporate marigold into your daily routine and reap its natural benefits.

Marigold symbolism in gardening and landscaping.

Marigolds are not only beautiful flowers but also have significant meaning in various cultures. In gardening and landscaping, marigolds are considered an excellent choice for adding a pop of color to any outdoor space. They are also known to have some benefits for the garden ecosystem. Here are some aspects of the marigold’s symbolism in gardening and landscaping:

  • Repels pests and attracts beneficial insects: Marigold flowers have a pungent aroma that repels pests such as mosquitoes, aphids, and whiteflies. This aspect makes them a fantastic companion plant for vegetables and fruits. On the other hand, marigolds attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies, which are beneficial for pollination and pest control.
  • Long blooming season: Marigolds bloom for an extended period compared to other flowers, making them an excellent choice for season-long color. Their flowers come in various colors like yellow, orange, and red, adding a vibrant hue to any landscape.
  • Cultural symbolism: The marigold is a significant flower in various cultures, signifying different things like death, love, and sacredness. In Mexico, marigolds are considered a symbol of death but also used in the Day of the Dead celebrations as an offering to the deceased. In India, garlands of marigold are exchanged as a symbol of love and commitment on weddings and other celebrations.

The use of marigold in gardens and landscaping

Marigold flowers are versatile and can be used in various ways to add beauty and benefits to your garden. Some of their uses include:

  • Edging and borders: Marigold flowers can be used to line the edges of garden beds or front yards. They create a colorful border that adds visual interest.
  • Potted plants: Marigolds are an excellent choice for container gardening. You can plant them in pots of different sizes and colors, and they will bloom continuously all season long.
  • Companion planting: As mentioned earlier, marigolds are excellent companion plants for fruits and vegetables. They mask the scent of the host plant, repel pests, and attract beneficial insects.

The different types of marigold

There are different types of marigolds available in garden centers, and they come in different sizes, colors, and shapes. Here are some of the most common types of marigolds:

Type of MarigoldSizeColor
AfricanTall (up to 3 feet)Yellow and orange
FrenchMedium (up to 1 foot)Yellow, orange, and red
SignetSmall (up to 6 inches)Yellow and orange

In conclusion, marigolds are not only beautiful and versatile flowers but also offer benefits to the garden ecosystem. They are a fantastic choice for adding color, lining edges, and companion planting. Furthermore, they carry cultural significance in various cultures.

FAQs about what does the marigold symbolize

1. What does the marigold flower typically represent?

Marigolds are often associated with the sun and warmth, and they represent love, passion, creativity, and the triumph of life over death.

2. Is there a specific significance to the color of marigolds?

Yes, different colors have different meanings. For example, orange marigolds symbolize positive energy, while yellow marigolds represent good luck and prosperity.

3. In which cultures are marigolds traditionally used in celebrations?

Marigolds have a significant role in Mexican culture, where they are used for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. They are also used in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and in some African and South American countries.

4. Are there any myths or legends associated with marigolds?

In Greek mythology, marigolds are said to have been created by the goddess Athena as a gift to mortals. In other cultures, marigolds are associated with the sun god, and are said to bring happiness and good fortune.

5. What is the significance of marigolds in wedding traditions?

Marigolds are often used in weddings as they represent love, passion, and creativity. They are also believed to bring good fortune to the newlyweds.

6. Can marigolds be used for medicinal purposes?

Yes, marigolds have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and are used in the treatment of various skin conditions like rashes, eczema, and acne.

7. How can I incorporate marigolds into my daily life?

You can grow marigolds in your garden or use them to brighten up your home by making flower arrangements or using them in potpourri.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading about what does the marigold symbolize! As you can see, marigolds have a rich cultural and historical significance, and they can add a touch of vibrant energy and good vibes to our daily lives. Try incorporating marigolds into your next celebration or adding a splash of color to your garden and see how they can bring joy and creativity to your life. Don’t forget to visit us again for more fascinating articles!