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I'm trying to learn French by listening to classical music and searching for translations, and I came across a song by Jacques Brel, titled J'arrive, when he says:

De chrysanthème en chrysanthème nos amitiés sont en partance

I assume that the word "chrysanthème" is a flower, but does it mean anything else in French Culture so?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Chrysanthème is indeed a flower (see it here).

In France, On November 1st, there is the "Toussaint". It started off as a religious celebration but now it's more or less for everyone. To sum up, this celebration is for the Dead, and the Chrysanthème is the flower associated with it since the 19th. So while "De Chrysanthème en Chrysanthème" isn't a phrase, it still has meaning.

enter image description here

La Toussaint (1886), par Émile Friant

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Thanks @Yellrag it makes sense now :) – user3437443 May 7 '14 at 10:12
Just to complete this already good answer, the author refers to these flowers associated to funerals, alluding to the recurring and tragic event of seeing loved ones (here, more precisely friends) die and be burried. – Romain VALERI May 7 '14 at 11:15
Agree with you @RomainVALERI, I just realized that the main subject of the song is Death, when he says "J'arrive", he means : " Death I'm Coming ", so the funerals interpretation is good in this case ... – user3437443 May 7 '14 at 11:52
La Toussaint is la Fête de tous les saints, All saints'Day. It is celebrated on November 1st. All Hallows'Eve (All Saints'Eve) being October 31st, known as Hallowe'en. In France, the Chrysanthème is associated with death and every October 1st, people go visit the graves of their loved ones and adorn them with chrysanthemum. – Iside Feb 8 at 11:05

This is a flower equivalent to the Chysanthemum.

As seen in a English to French Dictionary chrysanthemum
n chrysanthème m

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