As Valentine’s day approaches, the feeling of love is in the air. Here’s a look behind one of the biggest symbols of the season: The Rose.
Roses are probably one of the most prevalent and widely recognized symbols of love in Western culture. They appear in poetry, literature, artwork, films and in every media form in between. A rose is a symbol of romantic love, passion, and affection, with red as the most widely recognized. Even the bud has its own meaning. The pre-bloomed flower symbolizes youthful love, purity, honest beauty and innocence, The attractive and unopened rosebud celebrates unpretentious and honest beauty.
Flowers had meaning based on both their species and their color. For example, the rose, in general, symbolized love. Along with the rose itself, the color also provides its own meaning. Red roses symbolize love and romance and are traditional ways to express affection. The pink rose symbolizes love, gratitude, and appreciation and is often given as elegant tokens of admiration and appreciation. White roses symbolize marriage, spirituality and new starts. They are also used as a gesture of remembrance. Orange roses are symbols of enthusiasm and passion while yellow roses symbolize friendship, joy and good health.
In Greek and Roman times, the rose was a tied to Aphrodite/Venus, the goddess of love. Roses were the main decoration for weddings and ceremonies. Later, early Christians used this symbol and associated it with the Virgin Mary. In Shakespearian times, the rose became a poetic standard. It was used as a symbol within the works of Shakespeare and Gertrude Stein.
Coming up to the 18th century, the rose now symbolizes forbidden love. The flowers were used as a means of communication between lovers who were forced apart by the standards of the societies they lived in. Along with forbidden love, the red rose came to symbolize true love that was everlasting and can outlive all obstacles. In the 18th century, Charles II of Sweden attached a specific meaning to each flower, making it possible for someone to have a whole conversation using just flowers.
Even today, people continue to use roses as ways to express their love and admiration for their loved ones. Join in on this timeless tradition and send someone you love a bouquet of roses this Valentines Day!