Legend has it that the amaryllis – the stunning flower we’ve come to associate with the holidays – began as a shy, timid nymph. Amaryllis fell deeply in love with Alteo, a shepherd with Hercules’ strength and Apollo’s beauty, but her affections were unrequited. Hoping that she could win him over by bestowing upon him the thing he desired most – a flower so unique it had never existed in the world before – Amaryllis sought advice from the oracle of Delphi.
Following his instructions, Amaryllis dressed in maiden’s white and appeared at Alteo’s door for 30 nights, each time piercing her heart with a golden arrow. When at last Alteo opened his door, there before him was a striking crimson flower, sprung from the blood of Amaryllis’s heart. With this romantic – albeit tragic – tale as its beginning, it’s not surprising that today the amaryllis has come to symbolize pride, determination and radiant beauty.