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Roses as Symbols of Love

Roses as Symbols of Love
By Joanne Elliott

An estimated 1.3 billion cut roses are purchased in the U.S. every year. That's around 4.8 roses for every man, woman and child! Valentines day is the time of year when the most roses are sold, with Mothers’ Day in a very distant second. On February 14th, an annual estimation of 1.3 million roses are bought. Would you believe that the sale of roses themselves accounts for almost 40% of Valentines Day gift sales overall?

It is believed that giving a rose to someone is a statement of pure love. But do you know about the real symbolism behind different colored roses? You may be surprised ...

* Red Roses

Would you believe that although red is color of choice for roses, the majority of meaning translations are actually negative? In Christendom, the red rose is seen as a symbol of the Jesus’ blood and the agony which he endured during the crucifixion. In Greek mythology, the red rose represents passionate desire. This is derived from the myth which told of Aphrodite spilling blood onto a white rose when trying to help her wounded lover Adonis. In Persia it is believed that if the petals fall from red rose cut in an English garden it is a superstitious omen of bad luck. However, in modern culture, the red rose has become almost universally accepted as an expression of deepest love and respect.

* Pink Roses

There is also a great deal of dispute as to the difference in meaning for pink roses. The most prominent interpretation of pink roses in general is grace and gentility. Deep pink roses are often used to say ‘thank you’, as they symbolize gratitude and appreciation. Light pink roses have a slightly different meaning, as they convey admiration and sympathy. There is also a negative connotation of pink roses which heralds from the stories of ancient Roman Gods. When Rhoanthe unfairly tried to become the goddess of the hunt and the protectress of woman, Apollo turned her into a rose. Therefore, if Roman mythology is to be believed, pink roses are symbols of pain, suffering, and death.

* White Roses

White roses have been symbols of reverence and humility ever since Medieval Christian Europe. In those times, Mary was often represented by a white rose to represent her purity. In Wales, white roses are seen to mean innocence and silence, and are often placed on the grave of a young child. Meanwhile, some native American cultures see the white rose as representing security and happiness, so this is why they are traditionally worn at weddings.

* Yellow Roses

In modern culture, yellow roses apparently represent joy, gladness, freedom and contentment. However, in Islamic folklore the meaning is really quite different. It is believed that the yellow rose is a symbol of deceit, treachery, and adultery. Obviously these are quite different interpretations of the same thing, which show the transitional nature of color symbolism and representation theory.

* Orange Roses

Orange roses are actually a genetic blend of reds and yellows. Therefore, the orange rose represents a blend of pure enthusiasm and passionate desire. Excellent!

* Pale Pink and Yellow Roses

Pale pink and yellow roses traditionally signify sociability and friendship.

* Red and Yellow Roses arranged together

Red roses arranged with yellow is said to represent future joviality and happiness in all areas of your life.

* Red and White Roses arranged together

If red and white roses are arranged together it denotes unity, understanding, and common ground. This tradition heralds from the time of King Henry VII where he created a graphic design called the Tudor Rose in 1485. The Tudor Rose is a symbol of a red rose on top of a white rose. These roses were the emblems of the Houses of York and Lancaster, and in creating the Tudor Rose, the War of the Roses was ended.

Joanne Elliott is an international freelance writer and illustrator involved in several different areas. Enquiries welcome:

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