Tag Archives: flower



Locsolkodás (“Pouring” day) happens on the Monday after Easter. That morning, the young men will pour water or perfume on the girls. Modern versions of this ritual involve going to the women in the household and reciting a short poem to them, after which you offer them “the sprinkling” in the form of a spritz of water or perfume. 

Here is an example of one of the poems that are commonly told:


Zöld erdőben jártam

Kék ibolyát láttam,

El akart hervadni,

Szabad-e locsolni? 


Zöld → Green / erdőben → in the forest / jártam → I went,

Kék → Blue /  ibolyát → violets / láttam → I saw,

El → Away / akart → wanted / hervadni → to wither,

Szabad-e → Is it free / locsolni → to water?


I was walking in the green forest,

And I saw blue violets,

They wanted to wither,

Am I allowed to water you?


The informant participated in this tradition when they were living as a child in Hungary. He explained how the “sprinkling” represented a flowering of youth, vitality, and good fortune for women. He also explained how versions of this tradition have become more tame over time, factoring in an element of consent, whereas earlier versions were more aggressive and less pleasant. 


At its core, I believe the Hungarian “Pouring day” (Locsolkodás) is a fertility ritual. For one, it emphasizes young girls who are experiencing menstruation for the first time. Franciso vaz de Silva associates menstruation with a rose, “the fruitful aspect of womb blood as well as for youth” (245). The poem above also refers to women as “blue violets,” a type of flower. By associating flowers with fertility, it is easy to see why the ritual of “sprinkling” came into practice. It is a way of symbolically blessing a woman’s fertility and the continuation of her menstrual cycles. The fact that men are the ones doing the sprinkling further reinforces the reproductive and gendered nature of this ritual. It is a way of encouraging a woman’s “blooming” when she becomes able to have children. However, what I also find fascinating is how my informant made a point of distinguishing both old and new forms of this tradition. Antiquated versions of the “sprinkling” included dumping a pale of cold water over a woman while she was still asleep, or taking her to a well and dunking her in. However, more modern versions of this tradition involve a poem, which asks for consent (“Am I allowed to water you?”), something that was altogether absent in earlier versions. The introduction of consent in more modern versions of this ritual shows how cultural values and gendered attitudes have shifted over time, where reproductive rights have become a much more prevalent issue in contemporary society. In modern versions of the ritual, Hungarian women are not being forced into a reproductive role, but rather they are first asked if they would like to partake, and only then if they grant their permission does the ritual proceed.

Michigan state flower

Background: Informant is a 19 year old college student. They grew up in Minnesota and have lived there until college, where they relocated to Los Angeles. The informant says that this is an indigenous story that they learned in school about why the Minnesota state flower is called the lady slipper flower.”

Informant: There was a girl, and she had these special slippers. And they were beautiful and made for her. But she was told to go and deliver these slippers and she had to like, go very far away and all the seasons went by, and in the winter no one would help her, so she got stuck with the slippers in this field and she like, died with the slippers there. But they were like, magical or something? And so like, the slippers were in the snow where she died, and then in the spring they thawed into the ground and a flower grew from them. And that flower was the lady slipper flower. And then it was like, a memorial of her journey. 

Me: Where did you hear this for the first time?

Informant: This is definitely incorrect, but in my Elementary school when we were talking about Minnesota state history. 

Reflection: My informant mentioned that this story was told to them in school. They made sure to mention that they are not indigenous themselves, but it is an example of how cultures intermix when colonization occurs. This indigenous story has made its way into American culture, with the state flower of Minnesota being inspired by an indigenous story. It’s interesting how when nation-states are created, they sometimes borrow from the indigenous groups they steal from. It’s an unfair, odd phenomenon where the nation-state will pull from native folklore to honor their culture, but walk all over their land and disrespect their humanity.