4th Anniversary Gifts

The traditional anniversary gift for the fourth anniversary differs depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on. In the United Kingdom the traditional gift for the fourth anniversary is fruit and flowers whereas in the United States it is more common to give linen and silk. However, considering the fact that silk is also given on the twelfth anniversary and lace on the thirteenth it may be preferable to embrace the custom of the United Kingdom in order to provide greater variety. On the other hand, linen or silk goods may be a practical gift this early on in the marriage and certainly a longer lasting one.

If fruit and flowers are not the most practical gift in the world to give then the reason that they are being given can only be symbolic. Given together they are a symbol of the bounty of nature, of freshness and the wellsprings of life. The reason for this tradition may perhaps be linked to old fertility cults and it may have something to do with the desire for the couple either to begin or to continue to have children as they settle into their marriage. To give a couple fruit and flowers is to encourage their continued fertility and to wish them to have the best in life including all of the prosperity that nature can give.

Obviously if you are giving flowers you are likely to want to give a bouquet containing multiple types of flower. There is, however, a flower traditionally associated with this wedding anniversary and which recommends itself for inclusion and that is the hydrangea. Hydrangea have huge flower heads and are considered highly ornamental and could even be given as a potted plant for a garden or window box as they are very popular in gardens. In traditional Chinese symbolism, the pink hydrangea symbolises the heart, partly because it is of roughly the same size as a human heart and partly because of its pink colour. In the European language of flowers, they can be interpreted either positively or negatively. When given negatively they symbolise frigidity or heartlessness. They are unlikely to be taken negatively on this occasion, however, and on positive circumstances they mean heartfelt gratitude for being understood. In this specific instance they are likely to be interpreted simply as a nice and well thought-through gesture but it is good to know the connotative history of the flower before giving it.

The traditional colours associated with this anniversary are blue and green. Blue is a slightly iffy choice for a colour theme for this anniversary, however, as it is also traditionally associated with the fifth wedding anniversary for which it works much better. The reason for this is that the flower associated with the fifth wedding anniversary is the daisy which works very well with a blue colour scheme. Hydrangea, however, come in many different colours and can work with any colour scheme making green a more rational choice.