Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Secret History of Snowdrops Part II - Searching for Maidens

Over the last few weeks readers have helped me compile a list of about 270 common names for Snowdrop from 50 different countries. (see appendix) The list is still growing and is not fully translated (especially for areas of Eastern Europe), but distribution patterns are emerging.  The patterns provide a window into the history of the Snowdrop and cause us to wonder about the influences from far off cultures that have shaped our modern minds.

A Black Sea Maiden

A Brief Description of the Distribution of Snowdrop Names
In Part One we looked at how medieval monks carried snowdrops from the Pyrenees, the Alps and Italy to their monastery gardens in Northern Europe,  there the new plants were given names that related to their ritual use in the celebrations of Candlemas.  In England, Holland, Northern France,  Germany and even Russia they were called Candlemas Bells and Mary's Taper. There is a "Candlemas Bells Line" across Europe below which these names are not commonly found.

A few centuries later, during the English Reformation, Henry XIII proscribed candlelit rituals because he thought they were a "Popish blasphemy".  I suggested that the Protestant authorities might have suppressed the old Catholic names of flowers that reminded them of their "blasphemous" inheritance, this led to modern names like Snowdrop being created to fill the the vacuum.

This is a link to the earlier posting which is all about Snowdrop Candlemas names

We can see that south of the Candlemas Bells Line snowdrops are almost always called Snow Piercer, an historical name that is still dominant today in France (1st recorded 1641), Italy, Spain and Portugal (see appendix).  

Snow Piercer Type Names: See Appendix 1

The Wide Choice of Names in Northern Europe:
North of the Candlemas Bells Line where the Protestants had suppressed Catholic names there are a wide variety of names.  England is a good example of this variety: we have Snowdrop as well as names like Fair Maids of February, Dingle-Dangles, Snow Bells , Snowflowers, Dewdrops, Drooping bells, White Ladies, White Queen, Eve's Tears, Eve's Comforters and the mysterious Naked Maiden as well as the Candlemas names that have survived in pockets.

The mysterious Naked Maiden is found across Northern Europe:  Jersey Nude Maid  Germany Naked Maiden, White Maid Holland Naked Boys, Naked maidens/Girls, Naked Children, Lithuania Maidens Russia Snow Maidens (see appendix1).   

In the muddled meanings of these names are memories of worlds we barely recognise as still being part of our make up.  Google detective work on their origins has led me through a maze of roots that reach back to pre-Christian cultures.  

The Myths from the Balkans
The Balkans are an area of Europe where some of the ancient bronze age festivals of New year still survive.  In Romania they have a festival that is known to have existed for 8000 years, it is called Mărţişor (Little March), its sister in Bulgarian is called Martenitsa and other variants of the festival survive in Albania and Italy.  Snowdrops are an indigenous species across this area and they have become a central element of the regions Mărţişor celebrations of fertility and rebirth.   

During the Mărţişor the the boys tie red & white threads to the stems of snowdrops and give them to mothers and girlfriends (not just as a valentine).  In modern Christian Romania the white is said to be a symbol of the purity of Christ and the red of woman's fertility and good health. In this region it was traditional for a women’s wedding dresses to be red. But the colours are not always consistent, in the past the entwined threads were more often black and white representing the conjoining of male and female strengths. 

This charming you-tube video give a flavour of how modern Romanians celebrate Mărţişor. 

The talisman often include little white (male) and red (female) dolls.  The girls then wear the Mărţişors they have been given for nine days or hang them in trees as harbingers of Spring and good fortune. This tree-hanging custom resembles other traditions such as the German one of hanging eggs at Esster on blossoming trees and the Persian one of hanging fruit in trees at midwinter.

The Mărţişor festival marks the first day of the nine days of Baba Dochia, Baba Dochia being the Great Earth Goddess, (or in Bulgaria - Baba Marta (Grandma March)).  Baba is a symbol of the end of winter and arrival of Spring, a time when an old goddess gives way to a young goddess.  In the later Christianised mythology of Romania Baba was recast as a figure of wickednes and stupidity who loses her fight against her hated daughter-in-law, a figure of Christian goodness and purity. A typical version of the story tells how Baba banishes her daughter-in-Law to live in the forests where she has to wash black wool in freezing water until it turns white, the piteous daughter is seen crying by Jesus and St Peter who give her a flower.  When her cruel mother-in-law sees the flower she believes Spring has arrived and takes her goats to the mountains.   On her journey up the mountain in the warm Spring-like weather she discards each of her nine winter coats, by the time she arrives on the mountain top she is naked and when the cold weather returns she dies of hypothermia.  There is a tradition in Romania of calling large mountain rocks Baba Dochia

A Baba Dochia rock in Romania
Stories like these are not confined to Romania, in the Celtic Irish Codex, Book of Lisrnore, an Old Goddess of Winter is defeated with a shower of hail by a young Goddess of Spring.  The Bronze age myths, culture and festivals of the Balkans represent a type culture that was once widespread across Western Europe. 

Versions of these myths of a fight between Winter and Spring are often connected to the snowdrop. Here are a few examples from Romania, note how the snowdrop has again wheedled it ways into the cast list; "On the first day of March, beautiful Spring took a walk in the forest and during her stroll noticed a snowdrop that was trying to emerge from under the snow; she decided to help it by taking away the snow. Seeing this, Winter got mad and called the wind and the frost to destroy the little flower. The snowdrop got frozen immediately. Spring covered it with her own hands trying to warm and protect it, but her hands were injured. A little drop of her blood touched the flower, bringing it to life again. This way Spring defeated Winter and the white colours of the Martisor string symbolize her red blood on the white snow."

here is another Romanian story
“Long ago, when the Sun appeared each year to warm the earth in the form of a beautiful young girl, the people loved her dearly and looked forward to her appearance with joy. When she stepped onto the earth, birds began to sing and roots stirred under the ground. One year however, the monster of Winter, known as a Zmeu, lay in wait for the young Sun and took her prisoner. No ray of brightness could escape from the thick, stone walls of his castle dungeon. That year, Winter did not lose his iron grip on the soil, the earth stood hard and grey and the people suffered. 

A young Hero, who loved the Sun dearly, saw the plight that the earth would face without her.  He set out to save the Sun Goddess from the Zmeu and lured it from its castle walls. The two fought bitterly and the Hero managed to set her free. He warmed himself with her kiss as she rose into the sky and the icy winds became Spring breezes. But the poor Hero was grievously wounded and despite the Sun’s warmth, he fell to the ground. Each drop of blood as it fell, melted the snow beneath him and the first snowdrops began to grow, opening their white petals as the Sun reached her zenith.”

in both cases the snowdrops are born from drops of blood.  Snowdrops are not always born from blood, one of the British folk names for snowdrops is "Eves Tears" and  "Eve's Comforters"  This is how the story behind this name is told in Germany (1910)

"After Adam and Eve had been driven out of Eden all of the flowers stopped growing and snow  covered all of the beautiful earth.   An angel who felt sorry for Eve came down from heaven to comfort her.   As the angel spoke, a snowflake fell upon his hand. "See," said the angel, "all is not lost. I will give you a token of hope. This little snowflake shall turn into a flower and shall blossom for you." As the snowflake fell from the angel's hand, it turned into a beautiful white flower.  "Let this flower be a sign of hope that summer will come soon again.'' 

After the angel had flown away there bloomed a circle of beautiful white snowdrops where the angel had stood. "  From the German. (THE UNIVERSAL READER PUB 1910).  Versions of this story are all over the internet.

A Russian reader sent this version of snowdrops growing from pearls:

"There is an ancient Slavic legend tells about a girl abducted to a forest by outlaws. The girl liked the forest, and was looked after the good spirits of nature. During the abduction, the girl tore apart her pearl necklace, and was throwing the pearls into the snow, hoping this would help her beau find her. However the pearls dropped deep into the snow, and were no longer visible. The good spirits of the forest changed the pearls into the white flowers - the snowdrops, that rose from underneath the snow and helped her beau to find the way to the outlaws' nest."

But the idea of snowdrops growing from blood is widespread, most famously in the story of Snow White.

Little Snow White

In 1812 the Brothers Grimm published Schneewittchen "Little Snow White".  The first English edition starts thus:

"It was the middle of winter, when the broad flakes of snow were falling around, that the queen of a country many thousand miles off sat working at her window. The frame of the window was made of fine black ebony, and as she sat looking out upon the snow, she pricked her finger, and three drops of blood fell upon it. Then she gazed thoughtfully upon the red drops that sprinkled the white snow, and said, ’Would that my little daughter may be as white as that snow, as red as that blood, and as black as this ebony windowframe!’ And so the little girl really did grow up; her skin was as white as snow, her cheeks as rosy as the blood, and her hair as black as ebony; and she was called Snowdrop........"

The German name of the girl is Schneewittchen which literally translates as "Little Snow White" but the early English translator calls her Snowdrop.  This looks to me like a correct translation knowing as we do that "Snow White" is one of a family of folk names for the snowdrop.   Latvia Snieguolė, (Snow White)   Russian белоснежный (Snow White) and then there are the variations that spread from England to Romania:  Snow Bells, White Bells, Snow Flowers,  Whit Maids, White Queen, White Virgins, Snow Maids..... (see Appendix) Members of this group of names are found wherever snowdrops grow and it is easy to suppose that locals sometimes called Snowdrops Snow Whites Bells or Snow Whites for short.
The Grimm Brothers recorded five versions of the story.  The version which was published for popular reading (1812) had been sanitised for Victorian sensibilities, for instance a step mother was invented to take the place of the murderous mother mentioned in their earlier unpublished manuscript; "Children's and Household Tales" (1806 -10).  Modern scholars consider the Snow White story to be a German variant of similar folk tales that are recorded across a vast area from Scotland in the North-West to Sicily, Greece and Romania  in the South-East.

Snow White encased in a glass coffin; Illustration von Sulamith Wülfing
Schneewittchen has all the main elements of Romanian mythology remembered in the festival of Mărţişor;  The colours Red, White and Black, the drops of blood on snow from which Snowdrop grew, an elemental fight between a murderous dying queen and a victorious younger goddess/princess after a period banishment into the forest, and Silver and Gold (Which I have not mentioned before) and the choice of snowdrops as a symbol of new beginnings.

It has not been hard to connect the snowdrop with myths of Spring Maidens, but is this enough to explain why Snowdrops have acquired names like Naked Maidens and Naked Boys (Dutch, see appendix 1)?

Naked Maidens and Agrarian Goddesses

Calling snowdrops Naked Maidens resonates with images of neolithic agrarian vegetation Goddesses that were prevalent across the ancient world.  The Neolithic vegetation goddesses often had women's bodies and animal heads like the bird headed Goddess of the Nile, Nathor

Egyptian Fertility Bird goddess / Nathor 5,500 BP
The Bronze Age gave their Earth Goddesses clothes and names like Osiris in Egypt and  Persephone, Queen of the Underworld in Greece.  You will remember that in Greek legend Persephone was abducted from her mother Demeter (Goddess of the Harvest) and taken to the Hades where she was forced to reside for half of the year.  With the disappearance of Persephone the cut vegetation left over from the harvest retracts back into the earth.  When Spring arrives Persephone, sometimes called by the older name Kore, rises out of the ground as an armless and legless vegetation goddess (in later statues she had acquired limbs and clothes).  The two goddesses were sometimes known as The Older and The Younger.

In the East there was the Babylonian Ishtar. The Babylonian Goddess who represented Divine feminine aspects such as harvesting, mothering, fertility, healing, and love.
 Ancient Owl Mother Goddess - Yemen
Babylonian Ishtar with her Owls and Lions

The Snowdrop Naked Maiden type names are numerous in Holland and Germany, so I was looking for an equivalent Goddess in Germany.  The Northumbrian monk the Venerable Bede (725) thought that Easter took its name from an Anglo Saxon Goddess called Eostre, and the evidence seems to be that when Christianity crossed to Germany in the eighth century the German converts simply adopted the Old English name Eastron and Eastermonað (Easter month) into  their native language, which then appeared in Old High German orthography as Ostarmanoth.  Today Germans call their most ancient pagan Goddess Ostara, she is celebrated as the bringer of light and was very popular subject with the Brother's Grimm, Wagner and unfortunately the Nazis, today's new age Paganist have revived her cult.

I cannot find old Celtic images of Ostara, new age Pagans say her true symbols are the rabbit and the egg, which is undoubtedly where the Easter bunny comes from.

The German custom of hanging Easter eggs on trees is very reminiscent of the Mărţişor custom of tying red and white totems on trees however there are sceptics who believe that the German egg hanging tradition is only 300 years old.  The custom of giving decorating eggs was common across ancient Europe and the Middle East, such as the Iranian celebration of Now Rus (lit. New light) where coloured eggs are placed on the dinner table and the mother eats one cooked egg for each child she has.  The Rabbit or Hare is thought to come from the belief that Hares lay eggs. Plovers and Lapwings like to lay their eggs in the scratched sleeping "nests" that hares make in the meadows.

Name Transference 

The Naked Maiden names may represent remnant memories of forgotten pagan cults, unfortunately snowdrops were not an indigenous plant when Paganism was flourishing in Germany.  There are two alternative possibilities about how and why Snowdrops acquired Pagan names in Christianised Countries.

1. Local people were calling indigenous flowers Naked Maiden before the snowdrops were introduced by the monks less than a 1000 years ago. The Pagan names were transferred to the snowdrops from indigenous plants.

2. The Pagan Names arrived with the flowers.  I have not found these names south of the Candlemas Bells line, but the names could have travelled with the snowdrops from the Balkans or Caucus mountains.

 Name Transference from Wood Anemones

Looking at my incomplete list of Balkan snowdrop names I could not find any maidens, so I began to look at the folk names of German indigenous plants.  Quite quickly I discovered a Dutch biodiversity census paper from 1940 that called Wood Anemones (Dutch Bosanemoon) being called naakte-dame (Naked Maidens).  Wood Anemones are small white flower that come out in mid spring.

Wood Anemone
This fitted my theory perfectly; Before the arrival of the snowdrop Wood Anemones were the first white flower of Spring.  My thought was that perhaps in Pagan times Wood Anemones had been called Naked Maidens in honour of Ostara or Freyer.   Folk laws surrounding Wood Anemones (Windflowers) provide more supporting evidence for my theory.  In medieval England Wood Anemones were called Pasque Flowers (Passover flowers) and used to stain Easter eggs bright green. Of particular interest to our story are classic legends about windflower maidens growing from drops of blood.

Ovid describes how Venus wept nectar (tears) over the body of her lover, and from her tears an Anemone flower grew.   The Greek poet Bion (100 BC) wrote of Venus weeping over Adonis

"Alas the Paphian! fair Adonis slain!
Tears plenteous as blood she pours amain,
But gentle flowers are born and bloom around 
from every drop that falls upon the ground,
Where streams his blood, there blushing springs the rose
And where a tear has dropped, a Windflower blows
                                                   Bion (100 BC)

Nicolas Rapin (1535 – 1608) a Latin scholar and neo-classic poet wrote a poem called "The Anemone" in Latin
"Flora, with envy stung, as tales relate,
Condemned a virgin to this change of state........

.....she, though transformed, as charming as before,
the fairest maid is now the fariest flower"
                                 Nicolas Rapin (1535 – 1608)

Flora was the Roman Flower Goddess/Pompeii
The theory that Snowdrops gained their Naked Maiden names from Wood Anemones would be more convincing if their were more examples of Wood Anemones still sharing these names.

 Name Transference from Meadow Saffron/Autumn Crocus
There is a another candidate: The Autumn Crocus Colchicum autumnale.  Our native Meadow Saffron is from the same genus, but there are other species that were brought as medicinal herbs from the Caucus mountains

Meadow Saffron - Naked Ladies        photo: fablesandflora

This flower is extremely poisonous, killing cows and horses when they graze on it.  It is said that even to drink the water that picked flowers have been standing in will be fatal.  But it is also a flower that has been known about and used by Apothecaries for thousands of years, in Constantinople in 500BC it was being used against rheumatism and monks grew the plant in their monastery gardens as a cure for gout. The name Colchicum comes from Colchis (now Georgia and Adygia), an ancient kingdom near the Black Sea where the plant grew abundantly and they had a deep knowledge of herbal medicine and herbal gardens.  Cochicum autumnale was one of the most important medicinal plants and reputedly used by Media of Greek legends.  Common names for the plant include:
Common Names for Colchicum autumnale
Naked Boys (Dutch)
Nude Virgin (Dutch)
Naked Maid (Swed, Dutch, Eng, Germ)
Autumn Timeless (Dutch)
Barenecked Ladies (Eng)
Timeless (Eng)

Common Names for Snowdrops 
Naakte eerste (Early nudes)
mannetjes (Nude boys)
Naakte wijfjes (Nude maidenss, girls)
Witte tijdeloos (white timeless)
Naked Maiden  (Eng, Germ,Dutch)

The "Naked" is said to refer to the stalkless, unprotected flowers that develop in the autumn before the leaves, followed by the leaves and seeds the next spring.  But it is hard to understand how the names for a purple autumn flower has got crossed with the name of the first white flowers of Spring, but the coincidences are beyond ignoring.  I am waiting to hear news of whether in ancient times these flowers were called "Naked" in the ancient Adygean and Georgian language.

Whilst researching Russian names for snowdrops I discovered that the Russians were calling yellow Croci Yellow Snowdrops and purple Croci Purple Snowdrops

In Russia croci are often called йеллов сновдропс (Yellow Snowdrops)

By Chance I have recently become very interested in the National Dance Company in Adyghea (Nalmes) who we met in Sochii and we plan to visit again in October I can think of no better way to end this post than with this video of the mysterious Circassian Maidens from the homeland of the Snowdrop

The Nalmes Dance Company in Maycop Adygea

Special Thanks to : Hanna Dermauw (Belgium) who did a lot of research into finding Continental names and all the other readers; Roderick Macleod (Scotland),  Barbara Polyanskaya (Russia) , Malcolm Thomas, Martina Turvill (Switzerland), Ken and Shelagh Stephens, Sylvia Robert-Sargeant (wales), Martina Errusard (France), Lynda Parker (Bulgarian Names), Inka Schönebeck (Germany), Anna James (Germany), Carmen Eckel (Germany), Christina Hobbs (France), Bob Walpole (Germany) I apologise if I have left out any names.

Appendix 1Names gathered from the Internet


Fair Maids of February 
Snow Bells
Drooping bells 
White Ladies
White Queen
Naked Maiden
Eve’s comforters 
Eve’s Tears
Mary's taper 
Candlemass Bells 
Candlemas Lilies Christ's
FlowerWhite Purification
The Virgin's Flower
 Snow Piercer Yorkshire

WelshBlodyn yr Eira (Snow Flower)
Cloch Maban (Baby Bells)
Eirlys.  (Snow  ????) 
Y lili wen fach  (The Small White Lily)

Scottish Gaelic
Bláth shneachdaidh (snowy blossom) 
Gealag láir (white mare or white earth?) 

Jersey Bouonnefemmes  (Girls of Bounne (a harbour town in Jersey))P'tite nue (nude maid) 
Sniegpulkstenīte, (Snow Bellflowers) 
baltā    (Whites)  
Zvaniņi,  (Bells)  
Sniega  (Snowy)
Harilik lumikelluke

Balandžio lelijėlės    (April Lillies)
Baltoji snieguolė (White Snow White)  
Ledlelija / Ledlelijikės (Ice Lilly) 
Panelės    (Girls/Maidens)
Snieguolė, (Snow White)Snieguolis
Snödroppe (snowdrop)

Snøklokke (snow clock)

Vintergaek (Winters Fool - col. The Trick flower))
Gaekkebrev (Trick letter Flower - see link below)
Februar-lilje (February-lily)
Gække-blomst (Fools-flower)
Hvidklokke (White Bell)
Martsblomst (March Flower),  
Vinterblomst, (Winter Flower)
Vinterlilje, (Winter Lilly)
Blidelslilje  (Blidels Lilly)

Lumikello (snow clock)


French scholarly
Viellet blanche (1549) (white Violet)
Gallantien nivale (1786) (Snow Galant)

French - widespread
Perce-neige (1641) (Snow Piercer)
Campane blanche (1615) (White Bells)
Campane des neiges (1872) (Snow Bells)
Campanule blanche (1858) (White Bellflower) 
Campane (1830)
Cloche blanche (1770) (White Bells)
Cloche d'hiver (1863) (Winter Bells)
Clochette d'hiver (1857) (Little Winter Bells)
Clochette (Little Bells)
Grillet blanc (1671) (Little Bells)
Grelot blanc (White Bells)
'Bonshommes' (1884) (or 'good Christians' was how the believers of the Cathar movement referred to themselves)
Nivéole du printemps (1820) (Spring snowflake??)
French Regional  
Chandeleur (1786) Candeleur (1906)(Candlemas) Anjou, Maine, Normandi
Porillon de la Chandeleur (1881) (Candlemas narcissus) Anjou, Maine, Normandi
Violette de la Chandeleur (1819) (Candlemas Violet) Anjou, Maine, Normandi
Goutte de lait (1882) (Milk drop) Champagne
Claudinette (because the flower was introduced by a monk called Claude)Ardennes, Lorraine 
Pucelle (1816) ( a flower dedicated to the Virgin Marie and Candlemas) Lorraine/ Waloon
Bergougnouse (1846) ("modest, shameful" in Gascon.) Gascony
Schneeglèkel/Schneegloeckle (Snow Flower) Alsace
French  Belgium
Flouou dé chen dzojé (Saint Joseph's Flower)


Schneeglöckchen (Little Snow Bells)
Schnee-Durchstecher (Snow Piercers)
Milchblume (Milk Flower)
Hübsches Februar-Mädchen (Pretty February Girls)
Februarmädchen (Maids of Feburary)
Lichtmess-Glöckchen (Candlemas bells)
Weiße Jungfer (White Maid) 
Weißglatze (White Virgin)
Nackte Jungfer (Naked Maiden)
Marienkerzen (Mary's Candles)
Josefs-Blume (St Joseph's Flower)
Frühlingsglöckchen (Spring Flowers)

German Candlemas
Lichtmess-Glöckchen/Lichtmess-Glocken (Candlemas bells) Marienkerzen (Mary's Candles)
Weißglatze (White Virgin) 
Josefs-Blume (St Joseph's Flower)
Marien-Zannchen (Mary's Teeth) (Marsell'e Pflansennamen. Leipzig 1927 - 79)

Oster-Blume (Easter Flower) (Marsell'e Pflansennamen. Leipzig 1927 - 79)
Oster-locke  (Easter Bells) (Marsell'e Pflansennamen. Leipzig 1927 - 79)
Pfingst-Blume (Pentacost Flower)(Marsell'e Pflansennamen. Leipzig 1927 - 79)

German Common
Schnee-Durchstecher (Snow Piercers)
Nakelt/Nackte Jungfer (Naked Maiden)
Weiße Jungfer/Weiße Jungfrau (White Maid)
Milchblume (Milk Flower)
Hübsches Februar-Mädchen (Pretty February Girls)
Februarmädchen (Girls of February)
Schneeglöckchen/Sneeklocken (Little Snow Bells / Snowflowers)

Schneetulpe: (Snow tulip)
Frühlingsglöckchen (Spring Flowers)
Märzglöckchen (March Bells)
Märzveilchen (March Violets)


 lichtmisbloem  (candlemas-bells)

Dutch (Special thanks to Hanna Dermauw )

Dutch Candlemas type
Lichtmisklokjes (Candlemas bells)
Lichtmisbloempje (Candlemas flowers)
Vastenavondgekjes (Shrove Tuesday Fools)  Local to Asse 
Vastenavondzotjes (Shrove Tuesday Fools) Local to Lokeren
Vastenavondgastje (Shrove Tuesday Guests)
Sint Antoniusbloem (St Anthony's Flowers) local to Vollezele

Dutch Common 
Eerste februaribloemen (First February Flowers)
Febrewarigekje (February's Fool) 
Zomerzotjes/zeumerzotjes (Summers Fools) local to Antwerp
Mèèrtbleumkes (March (?) Flowers)
Juffrouwkens  (Little Misses) Local to Rillaar
Vroegopjes (Early Risers)
Witte tijdeloos (white timeless)
Mooie meisjes (pretty girls)
Snottebel Booger local to Ooat-Vlaanderen
Spijtse duivelkens (????- Devils) local to Kortrijk
Zwaluweikens  (Swallow Eggs) local to Steenokkerzzeel
Zottemuts (Crazy Hats)
Klökje  (Bells)
Sneeuwklokje/Sneeuwvlokje/Sneeuwbloempje (snowbellflower)
Lenteklokje (Spring Bells)
Liderke/lidertje (Annoncers) Local to Western Frisian
Winterliedertjes (Winter Announcers)

Sneeuwdwinger (Snow Piercer. Only used in a book)

Dutch Nude Maidens type (naakte = naked)
Naakte eerste/Akeneerske (Early nudes)
nakende mannetjes (Nude boys)
Naakte wijfjes/ nakene meiskes/nekene wijfkes/noakende wiefkes/nakende mannetjes/nakende mantsjes/nakene meisjes/nakene meiskes/nekene wijfkes/noakende wiefkes/nakende vrouwtjes/ Akkene meisjes/Akenjuffers (Nude maids, girls)
Nakende aarsjes  (Nude Children -
Only used in a book)

Amselblumli  (Blackbird flower) 
Flouou dé chen dzojé  (2005) (Flower of St Joseph) 
Clhujà Sent Jeuziê (1997) (? St Joseph) Alps

Sniezyczka przebisnieg 
Gładysz, gładyszek
Śniegula / śniegułka 
gładyszkiem (snowstorm)


подснежник/подснежниками/подснежника([pod'snezhnik], literally "under snow")
снежинка  (Snow Flake)
снегурка (Snow Maiden)

белоснежный (Snow White)
молочный цветок (Milk flower)
колокопей  (kolokopey)
колокольчики Кандлемаса (Kandlemas Bells)

дикий чеснокskororost  (Wild garlic)

могурянин  (moguryanin)
луковичная фиалка  (violet onion)

сон-трава (Sleep grass) local Nizhny Novgorod



Campanilla de invierno (Winter Bells)
Flor de nieve (Snow Piercer)

Lliri neu  (1991) (Snow Lily)

Italian (strangely missing Candlemas names?)
Bucaneve (Snow punch/piercer)
Lacrima bianca, (White Tears)
Stella del mattino, (Morning Star)
Fior di neve, (Snow Flower)
Fora Neve (Snow Cutter/Piercer)
Campanella del Lupo (Bells of the Wolf)
Freidolina — Piedmontese
Bicchiere della Madonna (Glass of the Madonna) (also applied to Convolvulus ) Umbria

Fura-neve (Snow Piercer)


Обикновено кокиче

(Öksüzoğlan, aktaş, akbardak, karga soğanı (crows onions).)

Greek λευκόιο
Albania Lulebore

aişoară, (Garlic)
clocoţăi-de-omăt (Snow Bells?)
clocoţei, (bells)
clopoţei (bells)
clopoţei-de-primăvară(Spring bells),
primăvăriţă (Spring)
pur (pure)
usturoiţă. (garlic)

dremuljka, (Dream Plant?)
bablji klimpač,
cinglica, (???? - faces?)
mali zvonček, (Small Bell)
dremovac, (Snowflake - not literal)

Slovene Mali Zvonček (Little Bells)  

Serbian: Висибаба
Ukrainian: Підсніжник (under the snow)
Turkish  Kardelen
Yugoslavia (hr, yu) 
Czechoslovakia (cz): Sněženka, Sněženka podsněžník
Slovak: Snežienka jarná
Hungary: Hóvirág, Kikeleti

Arabic: زهرة اللبن الشتوية

Georgian: თეთრყვავილა  


Adyghean гъэтхэпэ къэгъагъ (Spring Flower)

Azerbaijani: Qar xədicəgülü  
Mongolians Yarguy

References (sorry I have kept them all)

Decorating Eggs:
Dutch Wood Anemones/Naked Maidens:
Windflowers Folklaw:

Database of Medieval Medicine :.
Cult of the vegetation goddess Persephone:
Martisor -
Light in the Early Church:
Elice Hopkins :
Plant Lore, Legends, and lyrics, Embracing the Myths, Traditions, Superstions, and Folk-lore of the Plant Kingdom by Richard Folkard
Snow drop bands :
Candlemas in Italy
Dictionery of plant law DC Watts 2007
Excellent source of French names with references 
 Russian folklaw -
Dutch sites 
Danish tradition of trick letters
Croatian :
Romanian Sites
Italian - glass of the madonna story
multinational snowdrop names site
Grimms fairy tale - Snowwhite Snow white and blood.
Martisor -


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