Red roses are the traditional symbol for romance and a time-honored way to say “I love you.” The most obvious and well known meaning of the red rose is deep love and affection. The color red itself evolved from an early primal symbol for life into a metaphor for deep emotion. In Greek and Roman mythology the red rose was closely tied to the goddess of love. Many early cultures used red roses to decorate marriage ceremonies and they were often a part of traditional wedding attire. Through this practice, the red rose became known as a symbol for love and fidelity.
In the 18th century, a special rose language evolved as a means of communication between lovers who were forced by society to keep their feelings a secret. And the red rose came to symbolize true love that would stand the test of time. Staunch promising affection that is forever riding high is what the red rose means. The red rose denotes a true love that is stronger than thorns and can outlive all obstacles.
Desire is another facet of the red rose. The red rose expresses the throbbing heat of new love, a passionate expression of attraction. Red is the color of consummation, of raging desires and craving passion. The meaning of the red rose then is quite apparent from its color itself. The red rose speaks of love that awaits a passionate expression.
As the tradition of exchanging roses and other flowers as gifts of affection came into prevalence, the red rose naturally became the flower of choice for sending the strongest message of love. This is a tradition that has endured to the present day.
The first gift that Steve sent to me was a perfect red rose that he picked. I’m using the images of the petals on our wedding quilt which I have written about here.
“What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my heart”
“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.”
“How did it happen that their lips came together?
How does it happen that birds sing,
that snow melts,
that the rose unfolds,
that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees
on the quivering summit of the hill?
A kiss, and all was said.”
– Victor Hugo