The Red Rose: Why It Symbolizes Love
Here is why we give roses to, or are given roses by, the ones we love
Roses are a thing of the past, present and are likely to be of the future as well. For centuries now, humans have used the rose as a symbol for all kinds of love, spanning from friendship to romance and all that lays in between. A simple gesture, which has embedded itself in classic literature, film, history and mythology, can be traced back to ancient times.
Roses were a large part of Greek (and Roman) iconography as it was tied to Aphrodite (or Venus), the goddess of love. Cleopatra used to fill her living quarters with roses whenever Marc Antony met her, so that he would associate her with every single rose he smelled thereafter. William Shakespeare and Gertrude Stein both incorporated roses into their work. The rose was given to the Beast (you know, of Beauty and the Beast) so that he could learn what it was like to love. Significant others give roses during special occasions and if you’re lucky, like really lucky, for no reason other than to show their love for you.
The actual act of giving roses is often traced back to the Victorians, who started the tradition of floriography, or the language of flowers. The Victorians would give flowers to people whenever they could not properly word what they were feeling. It is also said that roses provided a way for lovers to silently let the other know of their affection, especially when society was against them and stifled their love.
But roses don’t need to come from a significant other and they do not exclusively symbolize romantic love. A single red rose does mean “I love you,” but giving and receiving a pink rose is a measure of gratitude and admiration. On the other hand, a yellow rose means friendship and orange means fascination. Which basically means there is still hope to receive a rose this year, and even if you still think there isn’t, then there is every reason to give one.
Whoever said Valentine’s Day was just for the lovers out there?
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