Objects & Memories

Crochet Carnation

5 de junho de 2020
Presidency of the Republic Museum Collection
Presidency of the Republic Museum Collection
From Greek and Roman mythology to the Revolution of April 25, 1974, the carnation has always carried multiple meanings with it.

On April 25, 1974, the Armed Forces Movement overthrew the Estado Novo, a regime that had been in force in Portugal for over four decades. On that day, the military was effusively supported by the people who, following the revolution, filled the streets with slogans and red carnation. These were times of hope but also of uncertainty.
The piece that the Museum highlights in order to mark the day of the Revolution was executed by Maria Cláudia de Almeida, 82, in red and green cotton, and offered to Costa Gomes (President of the Republic between 1974 and 1976) on May 1, 1975, in the commemorations of Labor Day and one year after the April 25 Revolution. Francisco da Costa Gomes takes office as President of the Republic on September 30, 1974 succeeding António de Spínola. His mandate will be marked by the need for international recognition of Portuguese democracy and by obtaining external support in the economic, political and institutional areas. The carnation became the symbol of the April 1974 Revolution. It is said that it was Celeste Caeiro, a florist in Lisbon, who began distributing carnations to the people who offered them to the soldiers. And the red dots that stand out in the poster produced by Vieira da Silva are carnations, which served as an illustration to the unforgettable phrase by Sophia de Mello Breyner "poetry is in the street".

Perhaps fortuitous, this act did not take into consideration the ancestral symbology that this flower carries with it. Originally from the Asian continent, the carnation is scientifically known as dianthus caryophyllus and referred to in Greek and Roman mythology. In Rome it is known as "Jupiter flower" because it has characteristics similar to the homonymous god which, in Roman mythology, takes the place of Zeus of Greek mythology. More than 2000 years ago the Greeks used carnations in crowns of ceremonies and in the Renaissance period carnations are synonymous with matrimonial fidelity.

With a very proper and delicate aroma it is one of the most used flowers in the manufacture of incense and perfumes. The strong scent not being tolerated by many insects makes carnation an excellent natural pesticide. Of very varied colours, it presents an abundance of petals, a rectilinear green stem that, depending on the species, can reach up to one meter in height.

The crochet clove as well as a diversified patrimonial estate (offers to Presidents of the Republic, correspondence, civil and military decorations, posters) lent by the Museum of the Presidency of the Republic complements the exhibition "The engine of the Republic: the cars of the Presidents". In this exhibition project, resulting from a partnership established between that Museum and the Museum of Transport and Communications, the vehicles (horse-drawn vehicles and cars) that served the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic since 1910 until Jorge Sampaio's mandate allow, due to their historical and museological value, a journey in movement through the contemporary history of Portugal that crosses the three periods of the Republic: the 1st Republic, the New State or Dictatorship and Democracy.

Crochet Carnation produced with red and green cotton thread
Maria Cláudia de Almeida
Portugal, 1975
Presidency of the Republic Museum Collection - inv. no. D.2013.3 71 (7)

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