Everyone’s Favorite Turbans
Posted: March 1, 2022
The tulip didn’t originally come from the Netherlands. It got its start near the Himalaya Mountains, where cold weather gave bulbs plenty of rest underground before bloom time. Nomads from Turkey spotted the candy-colored blossoms. Then the world’s love affair with tulips began.
The word tulip comes from the Turkish word tülbent, which means turban. Tulips. Turbans. These words resemble each other. And so do the objects they denote.
Turkish sultans sent their beloved bulbs as signs of goodwill to western rulers.
Eventually, tulips got into the hands of a botanist named Carolus Clusius. (Mr. Clusius also developed another foreign plant you may have heard of—the potato.) In 1596, someone stole some broken tulips (tulips with a stripe pattern, actually caused by a virus) from his garden in the Netherlands. These snatched bulbs started something big: the tulip trade.
Just like the Turks, the Dutch loved tulips. In each culture, the types of tulips people bought meant a lot. They meant, “I have money . . . and good taste!” During a time called “Tulip Mania,” people bought tulip bulbs for outrageous prices. Is a tulip bulb—not even a growing flower but just its seed—worth as much as a house? Some buyers thought so!
The tulip is still world famous. But you no longer have to be a sultan, king, or wealthy Dutch person to own one.
Want to buy tulips? If you do, it’s likely your purchase will come from the Netherlands. That tulip-loving country exports about two thirds of the world’s tulips.
Like flowers, people live short lives on Earth. We’re made to enjoy beauty during that time. Wasn’t it kind of God to provide us with a seemingly endless variety of flowers to appreciate?
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field. — Psalm 103:15