Have you ever wondered what makes the rose so special? A lot, actually, considering the flower’s rich history and high market demand. Today, roses are found in full bloom for weddings, anniversaires, romantic holidays, and even as a way of saying “sorry” to a loved one who was wronged.

The popularity is due in part to the strong symbolism attached. Red roses have stood the test of time across cultures, representing ideals of beauty, love, romance, and even politics.

But how does the rose’s symbolism represent Valentine’s Day?

It harkens back to the nineteenth century when Victorians used floral bouquets to deliver a message to love interests – that they were, in fact, interested. This system is called “floriography,” and it officially solidified the rose’s romantic status.

However, cultivation of the garden variety dates back to 5,000 years ago, in eastern Asia, Later in the Roman period, they were raised in the Middle East and used as perfume, party decor and medicine. Most of the roses we see today can be traced back to the late 1700s, when they began to trickle into Europe.

The flower itself may not be the only reason for its expression of love. The colour of traditional roses (red) represents passion. Interestingly, the pink rose may stand for appreciation and grace, the yellow rose may stand for friendship and happiness, and the white rose may stand for innocence.

Whatever you’re trying to communicate the Valentine’s Day – letting your mom, friend, or spouse know you love them, for example – the rose remains an ideal (and timeless) choice.

– Ashley Paige

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