Narcissus in culture
Long celebrated in art and literature, narcissi (Various common names include daffodil and jonquil) are associated with a number of themes in different cultures, ranging from death to good fortune, and as symbols of Spring. The daffodil is the national flower of Wales associated with St. David's Day. In other cultures it many be associated with wealth, good fortune and beauty. Because of the time that it flowers it is also a symbol of Spring, and associated religious festivals such as Easter, hence the use of Lent lily or in German, Easter bells, amongst its common names. The appearance of the wild flowers in spring is also associated with festivals in many places. While prized for its ornamental value, there is also an ancient cultural association with death, at least for pure white forms.Historically the narcissus has appeared in written and visual arts since antiquity, being found in graves from Ancient Egypt. In classical Graeco-Roman literature the narcissus is associated with both the myth of the youth who was turned into a flower of that time, and with the Goddess Persephone, snatched into the underworld as she gathered their blooms. Narcissi were said to grow in meadows in the underworld. In these contexts they frequently appear in the poetry of the period from Stasinos to Pliny.In western European culture narcissi and daffodils are among the most celebrated flowers in English literature, from Gower to Day-Lewis, while the best known poem is probably that of Wordsworth. In the visual arts, narcissi are depicted in three different contexts, mythological, floral art, or landscapes, from mediaeval altar pieces to Salvador Dali.The narcissus also plays an important part in Eastern cultures from their association with the New year in Chinese culture to symbolising eyes in Islamic art. The word 'Daffodil' has been used widely in popular culture from Dutch cars to Swedish rock bands, while many cancer charities have used it as a fundraising symbol.