During ancient times, emperors used laurel wreaths to symbolize wealth and power.
Many institutions also use wreaths made of laurel leaf to award degrees. In many cultures, people gift laurel leaf on various occasions.
Laurel leaf, also known as the bay leaf, is commonly used in cooking in many cultures. It is believed to have many health benefits.
Apart from that, people also use laurel leaf as a gift as it is a symbol of success, fame, wealth, and prosperity.
Remember that symbolism is subjective. The below are examples of possible interpretations only, and may not be the correct interpretations for you and your situation.
What Does Laurel Leaf Symbolize in General?
1. Honor and Victory
From the old times, laurel leaf has been a symbol of honor and victory.
In the old times, wreaths made from laurel leaves were presented as an honor to the military commanders who were successful in battles.
Similarly, emperors also wore laurel wreaths on their heads to symbolize honor among people.
We find examples of these in the Ancient Rome Religious texts. Victoria, the goddess of victory, is often depicted as crowning gods and emperors with a laurel wreath in her hands.
2. Success, Fame, and Prosperity
Laurel leaves symbolize success, fame, and prosperity. In ancient times, laurel leaves were used to signify the ranks of people in society.
If you see the portraits of any Roman and Greece emperors, you will see that they all have laurel wreaths on their heads.
This is because the laurel wreaths were the sign of their fame, rank, and sovereignty.
Even Napoleon Bonaparte used them as one of the emblems of his French Empire.
A laurel leaf has been used to signify the success of kings and emperors throughout history.
Read More: Metaphors for Success
It was believed that lightning could never fall on a laurel tree. As a result, many people viewed it as a symbol of protection.
So, some Roman emperors including Tiberius used to wear a crown of laurel on his head for protection.
A laurel leaf not only symbolized protection from natural events but also protection from unknown attacks.
In many cultures, the laurel plant is also considered a sacred plant that keeps evil spirits away. That is why many people plant a laurel tree in their house and keep dried laurel leaves in their kitchen.
Laurel leaf is also a sign of purity. In many cultures, people use laurel leaves to purify a space and banish all the negative energy and evil spirits.
The cultural context of this could be found in folklore. In folklore, after Apollo slays the Python, he purifies himself with a laurel.
It was believed that by doing so, he would be protected from the evil spirits of the beast and other men.
So, a lot of people use laurel leaves in their purifying rites.
In many old customs and cultures, laurel wreaths were awarded to people for some big achievements.
In the first modern-day Olympics, the person securing second place was awarded a laurel branch and a copper medal. And the Olympic medals also have laurel wreath motifs imprinted on them to this day.
The modern olympics have a special award for athletes called the Olympic Laurel, which is awarded to athletes who made significant contributions to humanity and peace through sport.
What Does Laurel Leaf Symbolize as a Gift?
6. Success and Achievement (Used in a Graduation Ceremony)
In many universities and colleges, laurel wreaths are gifted to the students on their graduation day for success and good luck in the coming years.
Graduating from a college or a university is a big phase and a big day in everyone’s life. It is after graduation; many people start earning and have an independent life of their own.
That is why laurel wreaths are gifted to wish them good luck in the coming times.
Also, congratulating them on such a big achievement, universities gift them laurel wreaths.
7. Saying Goodbye (Giving it to a Dear One)
If your loved one or someone very close and dear to you is moving away to start something new, you can gift them a laurel leaf.
This can be a sign of good luck and all the best.
When someone moves away from you to start something new, something they like, you should support them. By gifting a laurel leaf, you wish for a better future for them.
It is also a sign of hope so that no matter how hard things get, the person should keep working hard.
8. Strong Bond of Love (As an Anniversary Gift)
Gifting a laurel leaf to your partner on your anniversary can symbolize your strong bond.
As partners, one of the most important things to have is a strong bond. No matter what, there is going to be conflict at some point. This is where the strong bond of love and connection between you two will help you get through any tough situations.
If you and your partner have a strong bond, just appreciate it and cherish the feeling of love.
9. Beginning of a New Chapter in Life (New Mom Gift)
In many cultures, people gift a laurel leaf to a new mom to send greetings on becoming a mother and to wish good luck at the beginning of a new phase of life.
Having a baby completely changes the life of a woman. This is an important and joyful phase of her life.
Giving her a laurel leaf can symbolize your best wishes for the new mother. It can also give her all the positive energy she needs to start this new phase.
10. Helping Moving On (Gifting it to a Person in a Difficult Situation)
Sometimes, people also gift a laurel leaf to a friend who is going through a tough situation in life.
Everyone has hard times in their lives. While you might not be able to help them financially or in a certain way, you can always send positive prayers to them.
By gifting a laurel leaf to a person in a hard time can attract much-needed positive energies in their life. This can help them motivate and make things better.
How to Interpret Spiritual Symbolism
Interpreting symbolism and spiritual meanings is subjective and deeply personal. The symbolic meanings listed in this article are examples of potential interpretations, but might not be true for your situation.
Make sure you meditate and journal about your vision. Reflect on what you saw and think about what message you think is relevant to you and your life right now.
This doesn’t mean choosing the message you want to hear, but the one you think you need to hear at this point in your life. Only you can decide which meaning is the right one for your situation.
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Throughout history, laurel leaf is used on big occasions both as awards and gifts to other people. A laurel leaf symbolizes wealth, success, fame, prosperity, hope, and many other positive things.
If someone is going through a big change in life, you should gift them a laurel leaf or a wreath made of laurel leaves. This would attract positive energies for them and help them become successful.
I’m Chris and I run this website – a resource about symbolism, metaphors, idioms, and a whole lot more! Thanks for dropping by.