Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are one of the first bulbs to flower and signal the start of spring. The flower is a symbol of hope.
According to legend, the snowdrop became the symbol of hope when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. When Eve was about to give up hope that the cold winters would never end, an angel appeared. She transformed some of the snowflakes into snowdrop flowers, proving that the winters do eventually give way to the spring.
"The Snowdrop, in purest white array, First rears her head on Candlemas day."
The name snowdrop does not mean 'drop' of snow, it means drop as in eardrop - the old word for earring.
Snowdrops are also known as known as 'Candlemas bells'.
The Latin name for the snow drop is Galanthus, which means "milk flower".
Also on this day ......
1 February 1587: Under pressure from her Council, Queen Elizabeth I of England signed the warrant authorising the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
1 February 1884: The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.
1 February 1949: The end of clothes rationing in Britain, four years after the end of World War II.
1 February 1984: Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, announced that the halfpenny coin would cease to be legal tender.
Queen Elizabeth I
Rationing in Britain
Understanding old British money
British coins used today