Right! So roses. A quick study in pink. I would agree. Roses are pretty dang spectacular. But you gotta ask yourself… out of ALL the flowers EVER, why are roses so heavily coveted as a romantic flower? Sure, you gave your girlfriends roses in school on valentines day to make up for the absence thereof, but still- they heavily exude this kind of power over people and society. But why?
Let’s research this, shall we? Let’s take a brief cruise through history to get a basic answer.
So, from what I gather, it is entirely possible that the rose originated from Asia around 70 million years ago. Through trade and general displacement of seed and flower, the rose made it’s way over Asia through central Asia and Europe. There is general disagreement in the scholastic world over how roses ended up in the Americas, but that discussion can wait for a different time. What interests me, and hopefully you, is the symbology of the rose and why it is a form of symbolic and metaphorical fixation within our current society.
Let’s start off with the obvious. The general form of the rose is incredibly reminiscent of the female form. Soft, petaled, tons of layers. In the Roman empire the rose was associated with the goddess Venus which was then adopted by the Christians to represent the Virgin Mary and was then eventually used in rosaries. In the Middle East, especially seen in Iran, roses became an internal part of geometric gardens. In Europe, the rose became the national flower of England after it’s civil war. (The Wars of the Roses, circa 15 century.) When the flower made its way to the Americas, it interbred with the surrounding species and developed new variations. These have been adopted as many state’s flowers.
Ok that’s settled. But what about the color theory?
RedLove, Beauty, Courage and Respect, Romantic Love, Congratulations, “I Love You”, “Job Well Done”, Sincere Love, Respect, Courage & Passion Red (Dark)Unconscious beautyRed (Single)“I Love You”Deep BurgundyUnconscious BeautyWhitePurity, Innocence, Silence, Secrecy, Reverence, Humility, Youthfulness, “I am worthy of you”, Heavenly White (Bridal)Happy lovePinkAppreciation, “Thank you”, Grace, Perfect Happiness, Admiration, Gentleness, “Please Believe Me”Dark PinkAppreciation, Gratitude, “Thank You”Light PinkAdmiration, Sympathy, Gentleness, Grace, Gladness, Joy, SweetnessYellowJoy, Gladness, Friendship, Delight, Promise of a new beginning, Welcome Back, Remember Me, Jealousy, “I care”Yellow with Red TipFriendship, Falling in LoveOrangeDesire, EnthusiasmRed and White Given together, these signify unityRed and YellowJovial and Happy FeelingsPeachAppreciation, Closing the deal, Let’s get together, Sincerity, GratitudePale PeachModestyCoralDesireLavenderLove at first sight, EnchantmentOrangeEnthusiasm, Desire, FascinationBlack *Death, FarewellBlue *The unattainable, the impossibleSingle – any colorSimplicity, GratitudeRed RosebudSymbolic of purity and lovelinessWhite RosebudSymbolic of girlhoodThorn-less Rose“Love at first sight”
Roses by the Numbers
- A single rose of any color depicts utmost devotion
- Two roses entwined together communicate “Marry me”
- Six Roses signify a need to be loved or cherished
- Eleven roses assure the recipient they are truly and deeply loved
- Thirteen roses indicate a secret admirer
I got this from rkdn.org, by the way.
My question, though, is how on earth did flowers somehow get their own language? Who made up that red roses are love and blue roses (not that I’ve actually ever seen one) means the unattainable? Lucky for you all, I found an answer.
It’s all thanks to the Middle Ages and those Victorians. As a brief recap of the Victorian era. We got Queen Victoria whose reign lasted from 1837-1901. This era is in direct response to the Enlightenment period, which was all about reason and fact. So the Victorian era swoops in and we got romance. We got industrial revolution. We got deforestation of countryside and mass influx into cities. Essentially back in the ye olde day of the Middle Ages, people attributed different “magical” qualities to herbs and plants which they in turn used for medicine. It kind of snowballed from there so giving certain plants became equivalent to trying to project a certain emotion or feeling. So when the Victorian Era rolled around, Queen Victoria thought that it was of upmost importance that gentlemen knew the, “language of flowers,” or to know what different flowers and plants represent.
For a more complete look at what different plants meant in the Middle Ages, check out this link.
So, in a SUPER condesned form that covers centuries of history, religion, social and political movement and academic ideologies; roses were a religious symbol from the Roman Empire espousing the beauty of the Goddess Venus which was then adopted over the globe as symbols of power and beauty. Coupled with the Middle Ages pattern of attributing meaning and purpose to plants, the Victorians cemented the importance of the, “language of flowers,” among the upper class which has permeated time and social custom to this day.
And THAT, my friends, is why you give red roses to your Valentine.
These are the links I used to form my analysis- take a look!
HAPPY WEDNESDAY EVERYONE.
I live in Virginia, and frankly it doesn’t get cold until, like, November. So, it’s currently in the 90s. Which is fine, except for the part where I’m ready for visiting the beach in cooler weather. Imagine- nicer temperatures and sweaters. And hot coffee. And good food.
I’m ready for fall like the rest of the human race.
ANYWAY. I don’t have a super romantic story a la the past 3 posts about these pictures. This is more of me just being wistful and wishing the weather WOULD COOL THE HELL DOWN A COUPLE OF NOCHES LIKE SHIT. Warm beaches are nice, but visiting beaches in the fall when things have cooled down just seems nice. You get bonfires, and sweaters, and hot beverages…. like doesn’t that sound nice?! It does to me!
P.S. I took these pictures at Virginia Beach while visiting a friend. Coincidentally there was a Noreaster storm going through. My friend and I were set to drive down to a condo, and we realized there was going to be the winter equivalent of a tropical storm. We considered, for a bold 5 minutes, delaying our trip. Then we realized, “nah,” AND GOT IN THE CAR ANYWAYS CAUSE THAT’S WHAT WINNERS DO. So! We had a total blast. The beach and the bars were pretty empty due to the weather, but that’s ok! We got to hang out with some really down to earth bartenders along the boardwalk. We ended up talking about old fashions and whiskey vs scotch. And for some reason my bar talk ended up about French in the second World War. Dunno how that happened but at the time it seemed like a great idea.
Bottom line. Fall/winter beaches? Pretty legit.