The Classic Red Roses

Have you ever received a bouquet of red roses? Roses, especially the pink and red-hued varieties, are popular amongst friends, lovers, and family members, especially during special occasions like Valentine’s, Mother’s day, birthdays, or significant events, such as graduations or award ceremonies. Truly, giving and receiving flowers is a gesture as old as time itself.

While giving and receiving flowers is a common practice nowadays, you might wonder how this practice even started, or when it became widely popularized. As the act of giving itself is largely symbolical, so are the flowers associated with it. In the language of flowers, what does the red rose signify?

red rose

Time-Old Tradition

Giving flowers to your loved ones is so commonplace that most, if not all people, do it automatically, especially on special or commemorative occasions.

There is a branch of knowledge and study known as Floriography, which deals with the language of flowers. According to it, different types of flowers, colors, and even the number of flowers given hold several meanings. Researchers and historians have discovered that giving flowers has been a part of civilized culture since the mid-1700s, or the Middle Ages.

It was found that the Turks were the pioneers in giving meanings to flowers, and that the practice was adapted by the Frenchmen and Englishmen visiting Turkey. The gesture of giving flowers for their symbolic meanings then became widely popular throughout the romanticized Victorian era.

This became hugely popular due to the restrained atmosphere of the gothic Victorians, who refrained from showing strong emotions as much as possible. The reserved Victorians used flowers to convey messages and their feelings to people without having to break the reserved atmosphere.

Symbolism of Roses and the Color Red

When it comes to popularity of flowers, nothing can come close to the rose. Countless stories, poems, and songs have been created for the majestic flower, which is highly prized for its subtle beauty and elegance. Roses have been a part of history in so many different cultures, holding different symbolisms as well.

For example, the red rose has been a symbol for the goddesses Venus and Aphrodite in Roman and Greek mythology. As the goddesses embody love and beauty, the red rose is also often used to convey love and beauty.

In Middle-Eastern cultures, the rose is often used to denote unbridled love, and a rose shared between couples would signify that the two are lovers. The rose is also significant in Catholicism, as the church uses the five petals of a rose to symbolize the five wounds inflicted on Jesus Christ while he was nailed to the cross. The rose is also used to identify Mary, mother of Christ, while red roses in particular are used to symbolize the sacrifice of the Catholic martyrs.

Valentine’s day, a largely Catholic holiday celebrated on every 14th of February, yields the highest number of red rose bouquets given amongst lovers and friends throughout largely Catholic countries, as a bouquet of these red blooms ordinarily signify love and adoration.

Red is a color that is also wrapped in symbolism. It is a very strong color, loud and easily recognizable in a sea of hues. As they say in fashion, if you want to be noticed, wear red.

Red symbolizes extremities in emotions. It denotes power, love, desire, passion, seduction, anger, violence, danger. In the Bible, the color of bright red symbolizes sin. In fantasy and science fiction movies and animated movies, the color red is often used to identify villainous characters.

The color red has such intense symbols because as a color, it stimulates heat and appetite. Most fast food chains and restaurants incorporate the color red in their logo and design because it triggers the brain’s drive for hunger, making people desire to eat more. This could probably explain why the color red is used to symbolize love and sexual desire.

Blood is also colored red, and, depending on the context on which it was used, could signify life or death. This could explain why red also symbolizes extreme emotions such as anger, violence, and sinning.

red roses

Meaning of Red Roses

When the meaning of the color red is mixed with the meaning of roses, however, most negative connotations associated with the color are excluded. The rose mostly symbolizes beauty, or of something of a gentler and purer nature, so associating it with negative emotions such as anger or danger somehow loses its essence.

Red or pink roses mean love, adoration, or desire in the language of flowers. This is why these flowers are so popular to give as gifts to loved ones during special occasions.

Lighter-colored reds differ in meaning to flowers with deeper-colored reds. Pink rosebuds, for example, usually symbolize gratitude and a wish that the receiver attains happiness. Lighter colored red roses, or still-closed red rosebuds signify young or puppy love, or “a love that has yet to blossom”.

Bright red blooms, on the other hand, means a love that cannot be denied. It could also show uncontrollable attraction. If a woman gives a bright red rose to a man, it could mean attraction, or a gesture of seduction. Generally, bright red blooms signify passion.

A darker shade of red, such as burgundy, also holds a different meaning. It could mean anything from hidden love to unconscious or understated beauty.

There also exists a rare type of rose that appears almost black to the naked eye, though in reality, it is colored a dark crimson. Crimson or black roses signify loss and mourning.

Even the number of roses given and the state of the blooms can hold different meanings in floriography. For instance, red or pink roses that still have their thorns could mean indecision, or a love that is riddled with troubles. Lovers who wish to become engaged may gift each other with a pair of roses with their stems tied together. A similar floral arrangement can also be used in weddings, as tying two stems together signifies the union of two hearts or two lovers. A withered rose, on the other hand, could mean a dying love, or a love that has finally come to an end.

A single red rose given could mean that the giver is asking the receiver for his or her love, while a dozen red roses of this color usually holds the meaning of “I love you”, explaining their popularity during Valentine’s day. Alternatively, a bouquet of red roses could also mean adoration, which is why bouquets of the popular flowers are often generously given to performers like singers and thespians, or as gifts to winners of awards and beauty pageants.

By Any Other Name

The image of the deep red roses is so iconic that even if people were to call it by any other name, it would smell just as sweet. The symbolism of red roses and love has been so deeply ingrained that few people would have to take a guess as to what it would mean if one were to receive a flower or a bouquet of the popular flower. To this day, the world-renowned symbol of love, beauty, and longing still prevails, just as the enchanting beauty and elegance of the red rose remains true against the test of time.

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