Sunflower: A symbol of hope for Ukraine

Photo credit – L Meyer

The sunflower possibly surpasses all others in terms of its universal power to bring joy to people.

Kristen M. Stanton

As most of the world watches in horror as Russia invades Ukraine, efforts are ramping up to provide support and solidarity from around the world. Viral videos of a woman trying to hand a Russian soldier a small number of sunflower seeds so they will grow after he has fallen in the dirt, precipitated my desire to better understand the symbolism of Ukraine’s national flower.

Long known as a flower signifying optimism as its head is always turned towards sunlight, the sunflower has a special place for many people around the world. Symbolic meanings also include honesty, longevity, and peace.

Sunflowers serve as a food source for man, birds, and mammals. They are a practical flower as well as spiritual and symbolic.

A botanical plant that has the ability to absorb radioactive isotopes was planted at the sites of what were previous nuclear missile silos in 1996 when Ukraine committed to total nuclear disarmament. Representatives from the United States, Russia and Ukraine were apparently able at that time to plant sunflowers, together, peacefully.

Perhaps now it will also come to signify solidarity with peace loving citizens around the globe to honour the freedom so important in democratic societies. Let’s hope the powers of good around the world prevail and support the Ukrainian people in their time of need. And honour all that the sunflower stands for.

Peace to all.

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