With Valentine’s Day talk aflutter and literally right around the corner, I found myself thinking of flowers, specifically roses. Roses, the hallmark image of the day of love, are everywhere. Print ads, TV ads, in movies… more specifically, red roses. Little did I know, there’s a meaning behind each color.
Red Roses: Love and Romance
The traditional symbol for love and romance, the red rose was introduced to Europe from China in the 1800’s. In Greek and Roman mythology the red rose was closely tied to the goddess of love. Early cultures used red roses to decorate marriage ceremonies and were often a part of traditional wedding attire. Through these early traditions, red has remained the symbol for love through the present day.
Pink Roses: Love, Gratitude, Appreciation
The color that has been around the longest, the pink rose were the dominant species among wild roses, and were likely among the earliest roses to evolve. A pink rose carries with it a meaning of grace and elegance, sweetness and romance. Dark pink roses are symbolic of gratitude and appreciation, where light pink roses are associated with gentleness and admiration.
Yellow Roses: Friendship, Joy, Get Well
The yellow rose has a shorter history than other colors, as it wasn’t until the 18th century that they were discovered growing naturally in parts of the Middle East. The color was associated with the sun, as they both shared the vibrant yellow color. In earlier times throughout Europe, the color meant jealousy and dying love, but evolved to represent joy, wisdom and power. Today, yellow roses are most commonly associated with joy and friendship.
White Roses: Purity, Innocence, Sympathy, Spirituality
Early traditions depicted white roses as a symbol for true love, something which would later become the hallmark of the red roses. White roses are now used to express a number of different sentiments, including e purity, innocence and secrecy. There are myths and legends from several different cultures relating to the origin of the first rose which is initially white in color and is then miraculously transformed. The white rose, a traditional wedding flower, represents unity, virtue, and the pureness of the bond of love.
Orange Roses: Desire, Enthusiasm and Passion
Near the turn of the 20th century, rose cultivators began to produce orange roses, after the recent discovery of wild yellow roses. Available in a wide range of shades, from bright orange to softer coral and peach colors, the orange rose is regarded as the symbol for desire, enthusiasm and passion. Being a literal mixture of the colors yellow and red, orange roses were often seen as a bridge between the feelings of friendship symbolized by yellow roses, and love associated with red roses
Lavender Roses: Enchantment, majestic, love at first sight
One of the rarest and most stunning rose colors is lavender, often a sign of enchantment and love at first sight. Those who have been overcome by feelings of love and adoration have used lavender roses to express their romantic feelings and intentions. The color purple also has a traditional association with royalty. In this regard, shades of lavender roses can suggest an air of regal majesty and splendor.
Do you have a favorite? Mine the sterling silver roses, a derivative of the lavender roses, which I first saw in the movie “Bed of Roses.” They were introduced in the late 1950’s, have a light shimmer to them, and are virtually thornless. The whimsical notion of enchantment and love at first side plays into my adoration of fairy tale romance.