What is the edelweiss flower? What is the symbolic meaning of edelweiss?
The edelweiss (leontopodium alpinum as it is scientifically known), is a delicate alpine mountain flower with furry white petals. It is iconic and a legend in the countries of Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, where it grows at the high altitudes of around 5,900 to 9,800 feet in rocky limestone.
This flower itself is a symbol of the wild and rustic beauty of the Alpine mountains in Northern Europe.
The German word ‘Edelweiss’ or ‘Edelweiß’ is a combination of ‘edel’ which means noble, and ‘weiß’ which means white.
The edelweiss bloom carries a meaning of devotion.
The symbolism of devotion derives from the fact that the edelweiss flower grows in some of the toughest alpine conditions in the world. In spite of alpine extremes in the remotest places in the Swiss, German and Austrian Alps, this delicate yet hardy flower thrives.
In the past, Bavarian men would brave going high up into the Alps to fetch one of these unique flowers to bring to their loved ones. The popularity of the Edelweiss flower exploded in 1856, when the Austrian Emperor, Granz Joseph I, was on a mountain hike with his wife Sisi, and gave her one.
With the advent of Alpinism (climbing the Alps) in the 19th century, this flower further became a legend that was well-known as a symbol of strength, adventure, sacrifice and courage – all valuable qualities to have in the first place when climbing in the Alps to get one!
When planning your Oktoberfest decorations or German themed party, don’t forget to include this amazing flower with so much history and meaning! An edelweiss themed item also makes for a great German gift or an Oma gift idea. Many authentic German wool hats sport a vintage hat pin featuring an edelweiss topping of a dapper looking German or Oktoberfest costume.