The Rose, is synonymous with Valentines Day, particulary the red rose but have you ever wondered why? What is it about Roses that makes people think of love, passion and romance. To find out, we have to delve into myth and legend, so let’s go all the way back to Greek mythology.
According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite who was the Greek Goddess of love, rose from the foam of the sea and as she did the foam fell to ground and turned into white roses, which grew all around her. Then in a later myth, she was said to be running to the aid of her lover Adonis, when she caught her leg on the thorns of the rose bushes and the blood from her wounds turned the roses red. This myth was carried through into Roman mythology years later, although the name of the Goddess of love was changed to Venus. Further, in Roman mythology we hear of her son Cupid, the Roman God of desire, who was said to drop nectar as he flew by, which also turned into roses upon hitting the ground. There is also a connection between Ancient Egypt and roses, as it is said that Cleopatra would fill a room with a foot deep layer of rose petals, before her visits from Mark Anthony. So it’s easy to see where the connection of roses with romance came from but to discover how they became a Valentines gift, we perhaps need to look to Victorian times.
‘The Language of Flowers’
The language of flowers, also known as ‘Floriography’, was an old Victorian tradition which involved the use of flowers to send secretive messages to a lover or someone you admired. Of course Roses weren’t the only flowers which could convey meaning but due to the links to the Goddesses of love in mythology, the rose became the obvious choice for sending messages of love. The colour of the rose, also has meaning, as does the amount of roses one sends. For instance 12 red roses, means “I love you”. Below is a list of Roses and the meanings, according to colour:
Red roses symbolise deep love, longing or devotion.
Pink roses are considered more gentle and can convey endless love.
White roses symbolise a sacred love or a love that is eternal.
Orange roses suggest passion and desire.
Violet roses can convey adoration.
Lavender means love at first sight.
The scent of the Rose
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
-William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
As beautiful and diverse as the rose is in appearance, it’s main attraction to most is the aroma. The scent of the rose can vary, depending on the type of rose, the soil pH, time of day or year, and the water and humidity levels. Hence when people are asked to describe the scent of a rose, answers can range from fruity, floral, musky to spicy.
The scent of the rose comes from it’s delicate petals and it takes approximately 20,000 roses to produces one 10ml bottle of Rose Absolute. That’s a lot of roses! So as you can imagine it’s quite an expensive oil and as a result is considered a luxury oil.
It also has great benefits to the health and is a valuable oil in Aromatherapy as a stress and anxiety reliever, helping to lift the mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It’s also useful for skin due to it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. If you would like to see our Rose inspired creations you can visit our Rose Collection page here
Boskabady et al – Pharmalogical effects of Rosa Damanscena –Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2011 Jul-Aug; 14(4): 295–307.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586833/
Hongratanaworakit T – Relaxing effect of rose oil on humans Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Feb;4(2):291-6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19370942