There is nothing more majestic than a dogwood tree in the spring, decked out with fabulous flowers! To some people, though, dogwoods hold a deeper meaning. The “Legend of the Dogwood” is an age-old story that tells of this magnificent tree and how it became so beloved.
According to the legend, the dogwood is said to have been “chosen as the timber for the cross” and carries the marks of Jesus’ crucifixion. Its four large petals represent the cross he died upon, and each petal displays four red-tinged notches, believed to be representative of the four nail holes. In the center of each flower is a green cluster, symbolic of the crown of thorns.
This “Legend of the Dogwood” most likely originated in the United States in the 20th century. The author is unknown. It is a legend–a nice poem–in which believers and non-believers alike can find joy.
A copy of the Legend hangs in the foyer of the Vinton History Museum donated by Hildrey Pollard, President of the Vinton Dogwood Festival in 1965. The Museum can be visited Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and every first Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
By Vinton History Museum Executive Director Judy Cunningham