Now that I am teaching French, I am trying to find interesting things for my students to read about. Tonight, I am researching the Fleur de Lis. I may even have my students do some sort of coloring – maybe on a large blank fleur de lis.
Most of this information is gleaned from internet sources. It would be up to me to outline and write my own little article. I have no idea whether or not this will interest my students – they are very unpredictable. Actually, some of my new students are New Orleans transplants – courtesy of Hurricane Katrina – so they should be familiar with the symbol.
The Fleur-de-Lis History
The English translation of “fleur-de-lis” (sometimes spelled “fleur-de-lys”) is “flower of the lily.” This symbol, depicting a stylized lily or lotus flower, has many meanings. Traditionally, it has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light, and life.
In the twelfth century, either King Louis VI or King Louis VII (sources disagree) became the first French monarch to use the fleur-de-lis on his shield. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claims to the throne of France. In the 14th century, the fleur-de-lis was often incorporated into the family insignia that was sewn on the knight’s surcoat, thus the term, “coat of arms.”
This is from Fleur de Lis Creations, a jewelry and accessories website:
Fleur de Lis Facts
•The fleur de lis is the emblem for the city of New Orleans, with even more meaning now because of the rebuilding efforts of the people of the city since Hurricane Katrina.
•The fleur de lis is the emblem representing the New Orleans Saints Football Team.
•Joan of Arc carried a white banner that showed God blessing the French royal emblem, the fleur-de-lis, when she led French troops to victory over the English in support of the Dauphin, Charles VII, in his quest for the French throne.
•The Roman Catholic Church ascribed the lily as the special emblem of the Virgin Mary.
•Due to its three “petals,” the fleur-de-lis has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity.
•Military units, including divisions of the United States Army, have used the symbol’s resemblance to a spearhead to identify martial power and strength.
•The fleur de lis is inseparable from the history of scouting.