Valentines Day is approaching next week, and I am in high gear thinking about everything I have to do.  So I decided to rest tonight and think about how this crazy holiday tradition began, & why do we do this? I’ve been lobbying my wholesalers to move the holiday to summer when flowers are more prolific, but so far I am not having much luck with the changing of the calendar. 🙂

I decided to do a little research on the rose, and was pleasantly surprised by some of the things I read.  Aphrodite, the goddess of love is said to have given the rose it’s name.  Or Maybe it was Chloris the goddess of flowers who created it.  I know that  it also had something to do with tears and the blood of Adonis.. of course this is only true if you believe in Greek mythology.

Then the Romans who  didn’t like this myth turned Aphrodite into their goddess Venus, and she to took the rose as her symbol of love and beauty and that is how Cupid came to become involved in the myth.  I appreciate this little guy with the arrow, so much more after knowing this. 🙂

The oldest living rose bush is thought to be about 1000 years old and it is located in Germany, blooming on the wall of Hildesheim cathedral . You can read a little history about it here if you are interested.

No matter what you read or believe, it is certainly true that the ” Rose”  has an ancient lineage and is closely associated with the history and culture of people.  The Greeks used roses to decorate their ceilings in their conference rooms, which indicated that everything discussed was to be held in complete confidence. The Romans used roses for medicinal purposes, and  flower blooms to enhance many of their festivals.  In the past, roses, rose water and rose oil  became so valuable that it was even used as a means of payment.

And in England roses were chosen to represent two rival royal factions, the white rose was the House of York, and the red rose was the House of Lancaster. ( The War of Roses ) This originated clear back in the fifteenth century, yet I have customers today who still insist of this color preference for this  very reason!  It’s amazing how these traditions  can withstand the test of time!

You will find that the mention of roses goes way back to the  early written record of the Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Phoenicians, and the Romans.  Even Confucius as early as 500 BC  refers to the roses that grew in the Garden of the Chinese Emperor and  Cleopatra’s room was filled with roses, knee deep before Marc Antony arrived.

What I find the most interesting is the message of communication that still exists with roses today. In Victorian times,  if a woman was given a red rose it expressed the romantic intentions of a gentleman, and if the woman replied with a red rose her intentions were mutual. If she relied with a white rose, they she was telling the gentleman that she was too young, hence the symbolism of purity for the white rose. If the lady presented him with a yellow rose, then she thought him too fickle.  This was probably the beginning of the meaning of  the yellow rose as friendship.

The language of flowers, each having a secret meaning or message was first described by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, the wife of British ambassador in Constantinople,  her letters were published after her death and  inspired many books on the subject of the language  and secret meaning of flowers. I still find it interesting, and encourage you to research the history behind roses!

Some rose fun facts:

85% of Americans say that the rose is their favorite flower!

Our national flower is a rose, Ronald Reagan made it so, by signing legislation in 1986

Rosehips contain more vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable

Shakespeare refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his writings

Napoleons wife Josephine adored roses so much that she grew over 250 varieties in her garden.

The rose is the flower of love!

An ancient story even tells how roses had no thorns in the Garden of Eden, and that after Adam & Eve were expelled from the garden, the roses with thorns appeared..hence the Christian symbolism.

It is true that the rose has inspired many myths and legends around the world since the beginning of history.  I love the language of flowers!