â€˜The snowdrop, in purest white arraie,
First rears her hedde on Candlemas daieâ€™.
Snowdrops, which Christians sometimes called â€˜Maryâ€™s Taperâ€™ or â€˜Candelmass Bellsâ€™, were brought to Britain in the 15th century by Italian monks for Candlemass (The Feast of the Purification on 2nd Feb). Their bowed white heads suggested chastity and innocence gaining the flowers further names like â€˜White Ladiesâ€™ â€˜White Purificationâ€™ and â€˜White Queenâ€™. But the flowers growing on bare ground in graveyards reminded some people of shrouds, sadness and death, and it was very bad luck to bring a single flower into the house.
March 1st is Snowdrop Day in Russia. A legend tells us that an Angel came and made the tiny flowers from snowflakes as gift of hope after he found Eve weeping because she had been expelled from the Garden of Eden. Russian children are encouraged to pick bunches of the â€˜Tears of Winter Snowâ€™ to give as gifts and thanksgiving for the passing of winter
Other folk names include: â€˜Dew-dropsâ€™, â€˜Dingle-Dangleâ€™, â€˜Drooping Headsâ€™, â€˜Drooping Liliesâ€™, â€˜Fair Maids of Februaryâ€™ and â€˜Snow-piercersâ€™.