Meaning of White Roses

Have you ever received  white roses, or a bouquet of the beautiful white blooms? Surely, you were touched or maybe even thrilled at the gesture, but have you ever wondered what the person who gave you the flower could possibly mean by it?

Flowers have their own language, according to many hobbyists and enthusiasts. The rose, for instance, is a flower that has been synonymous with beauty and elegance throughout the world and ages. Since ancient times, people have associated roses and their various colors to positive emotions and messages. To this day, red roses remain a universal symbol for love and desire, while white roses remain undefeated to convey a blushing bride’s purity on her wedding day.

The history of the white rose, along with its numerous symbolic meanings, dates back to several ages, so much so that much of its existence is wrapped up in myth and mystery. Where did the white rose originate and how did its meanings come to be?

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Legendary Purity of white roses

White roses have been a symbol for chastity since time immemorial, due to its pristine white color. It is very easy to associate anything white to purity, but roses in particular have held the throne for that thought probably due to its origins.

Several cultures from all over the world have myths and legends surrounding around the white rose, in how it was the one true rose created by their deities. Stories of how the pure, unblemished rose became stained by blood—later becoming the seductive red rose—or how it blushed beneath the admiration of an ardent admirer—explaining how the red and the pink rose came to be—abounded for many centuries. Legends like those helped the white rose and how it became the status symbol for untouched beauty and purity.

White Roses Bouquets at Events

Bouquets of the white blooms or fresh white rose petals are often used in big events, namely weddings and debutante’s balls. This is due to the worldwide recognition of the flower and its color to symbolize purity, which is very much appropriate for a bride about to give herself in full to her groom to husband-to-be. It also holds the meaning of youthful or innocent beauty, which then makes the white flower appropriate for a young lady who is blossoming into adulthood.

The pristine nature of the color white can also signify new beginnings, like a canvas awaiting the touch of vivid paint from its artist, or a blank page eager to be written in contrasting black ink. This makes white flowers, like roses, appropriate for special occasions like weddings, which is one major event in a person’s life that can embody a new beginning. It can also be used as decorations during a business inauguration, or a house blessing party.

White can also symbolize unity. In fact, one of the most popular symbols of unity in the Middle Ages was a bouquet of white and red roses. Nowadays, the white flowers can be shown with their stems tied together, or woven to form a single arch to signify two hearts made as one.

Fashion-wise, white is a neutral color that blends well with almost any color from the spectrum, making it a good choice as a complimentary color for motifs and themes for parties and events.

Aside from holding the meaning of chastity, purity, elegance, and youthful beauty, however, the color white can also hold other meanings in other cultures. In Asia, for example, particularly in China, white is the color of mourning, which is why family members of the deceased dress themselves in all white garments during the funeral. It is quite normal to see bouquets and wreaths of white flowers like roses, lilies, and jasmines at the funeral, or to see family members throwing white flower petals across the path of their deceased loved one during the procession.

In Western cultures, the color white associated with purity can also be taken as purity in honor, which is why white flowers are also often seen decorating funerals of those who have died in service to the country or to the state. In Christianity, white can also symbolize the sky, or heaven, which is believed to be the place wherein those who have departed will go to in their afterlives. The white rose can be seen as a gesture of spiritual respect and love.

In contrast to the color white symbolizing new beginnings, the color white can also symbolically mean an end of things that has happened, such as the last page of a glorious novel, or a piece of cloth that has its color faded throughout the passage of time, or washed away by water. This could also give the color white the meaning of farewell, which makes it appropriate for funerals and other solemn events, but also as gifts to give friends and family members who will be going away to another country or city. Giving a bouquet of white flowers to a colleague or a co-worker who is leaving the company to pursue new horizons is also a nice gesture that shows respect and a well-wishing farewell.

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White roses and Love

In floriography, or the language of flowers, meanings can come from the kind of flower, its color, or a combination of both. Roses, for example, are universally a symbol for love and beauty, which is why red roses are a popular gift to girlfriends and wives during special occasions like anniversaries or on Valentine’s Day. The white rose still holds that connotation of love and beauty, though in an innocent or pure note, unlike the passionate overtone of the red rose, or the friendly nature of the yellow-colored variety.

White rosebuds, for instance, can be taken to mean as someone who is too young for adult love. Some cultures often adorn adolescent girls with crowns made from woven rosebuds. A symbolic way to represent a girl’s coming of age is to have her wear a coronet of white rosebuds, then have her parents take the coronet off, and replace it with one made with white roses in full bloom.

Innocence is another virtue often associated with the color white, and it can also be represented in white roses. A gentleman might give a lady he adores a single white rose, especially if the gentleman has given the lady hints of affection, and yet the lady still remains without knowledge. A bouquet of the white blooms or a single white rose with its thorns cut off is often used to convey “innocent or unknown love” in popular culture and literature.

Majestic White Roses

Whether used to convey love, youth, hello to new beginnings, or goodbye to what has been, the white rose still remains unparalleled as a symbol for purity and beauty. The elegant flower with its gentle, sweet fragrance has been the symbol for women of all ages throughout the centuries. As cultures and civilizations ebbed and flowed throughout the shores of time, so have the white rose and its countless meanings and symbolisms. Conveying love, beauty, innocence, unbridled purity, chastity, hope, gentle sorrow, and spirituality, the white rose is a versatile flower that can give the right kind of positive sentiment appropriate for just about any occasion.

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