The custom of floral decoration is one of great antiquity.
with his Trojan band started on his tempestuous voyage to Italy
, where he founded an empire which afterward ruled the world.
Before reaching his destination his fleet halted for a time at Drepanum, in Sicily
, where the tomb of his father, King Anchises, was located.
He erected altars at the sepulcher and sacrificed to the gods, and among other things, Virgil says, ‘according to custom he scattered blooming flowers’ there.
In ancient Rome
the flower celebration, called the Floralia, occurred annually during the last three days of April.
It was an occasion of great revelry.
Times have changed.
The American Floralia is fixed by law for the 30th day of May.
During the first years of these floral decorations they were occasions for the outbursts of heartrending sorrow.
In those days fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters
, sons, daughters, sweethearts, widows, literally bathed the flowers in their tears.
Time has wrought some changes.
The weeds of wailing have been cast aside, and bleeding hearts have healed, and the real has somewhat taken the form of the ideal.
It therefore becomes necessary that the celebration should respect and conform to these changes.
What would have been appropriate for an address then would be out of place now.
Moreover, it can hardly be expected of one who participated with them in the struggle, when they were full of lusty life, to especially dwell on their heroic achievements.
To one thus situated it is more agreeable to hear, or imagine he hears, the voices that come from these graves as they are wafted to him on the breath of these flowers.
Listening to these voices, many of which he recognizes as the voices of old comrades, it is more congenial to the speaker to endeavor to give a fair report of their words of hope or warning.