Long ago, the Kings of France adopted the fleur de lis or lily, also known as the "Flower of Light," as an emblem. Fleur means flower in French and lis means lily. Philip II is depicted on his seal as sitting on his throne holding a fleur de lis staff as a symbol of his royalty. The Roman emperor Hadrian, centuries before Philip was crowned, minted a coin that represented France (Gaul) with a woman holding this lily flower. The religious significance of the three petals of the white flower motif is attributed to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity. As a personal talisman, it continues to be associated with purity and nobleness of purpose. Interestingly, the fleur de lis is an image not only commonly used in heraldry, but also is often used in decorative design, political symbols, or religious and artistic emblems. One modern historian indicates that the three petals of the fleur de lis represent the history of the French people: "Those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed."
The fleur-de-lis has long been associated with sovereignty, royalty, and power. It is found decorating Assyrian tiaras, scepters, and necklaces that date to the 3rd millennium BC. Later, the emblem was used by the kings of France as well as Florence and England (until 1801).
In medieval Europe, the fleur-de-lis was an emblem of purity and light. The flower is strongly associated with the Virgin Mary, who often holds the flower in her right hand in church and other iconography.
In a Christian context, the three stalks of the fleur-de-lis symbolize the Holy Trinity. They are further emblematic of faith, wisdom, and chivalry. The flower is strongly associated with the Virgin Mary, who is often depicted holding the flower.
Flag of New Orleans
The three fleur-de-lis in the flag of New Orleans, adopted in 1918, are a reference to the city's French heritage - as they are in many other US areas settled by the French. They also symbolise government, liberty and fraternity.
The band of fleur-de-lis at the bottom of the Campbell's soup label are a tribute to founder Joseph Campbell's wife, whose Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority adopted the flower as one of its official symbols in the late 19th century.
French Fleur de Lis
The fleur de lis is most often associated as a symbol for France.
Canada and Louisiana logo
In North America however, the French provinces of Canada and areas in the United States where the French settled in Louisiana, display this symbol as well.
The New Orleans Saints
Is another famous American football team that uses the fleur de lis symbol.
This group has claimed the use of the three petals in badges and insignias and uniforms for many years.