What Do Water Lilies Symbolize?

A water lily is also known as a lotus. Depictions of the lotus can be traced back to the tombs of ancient Egypt. The water lily is an important symbol in many religions including Buddhism and Hinduism.

Water lilies are religious and cultural symbols.

Egyptian Symbolism

The water lily symbolized Upper Egypt and was used, along with the papyrus flower, symbol of Lower Egypt, to depict a united country. The blue water lily was sacred to the Egyptians to whom it represented the sun and rebirth.

Hindu and Buddhist Symbolism

Water lilies are an important religious symbol in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. They symbolize resurrection in both spiritual arenas because many of the lilies close their flowers at night and reopen in the morning at first sunlight. Buddhists regard the water lily as a symbol of enlightenment because of the beautiful bloom that emerges from the mud. They also consider the water lily a symbol of purity, spontaneous generation and divine birth.

Bridal Bouquest

Contemporary brides sometimes choose flowers for their bouquets based on the symbolism of the blossom. A water lily represents purity of heart.

Fun Facts

There are more than 70 species of plants in the Nympheaceae family, including the water lily. The three types of water lily are the night, tropical and hardy.


Water lily flowers can be pink, yellow or white.

Water lily flowers can be pink, yellow or white. They are aquatic plants found in lakes, ponds and the edges of streams.