Rose Traditions

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Roses have been around for many generations. During the Medieval Period, they were used for tea and other medicinal purposes. Many rose gardens were even used as a form of defense against invaders. By the 18th century, they were used romantically as courtship gifts, as chivalrous men send roses with white color to symbolize true love. But as time passed, red ones replaced it as a universal symbol of passionate love, while the white rose had become associated with innocence.

The most well known tradition involving roses is none other than Valentine’s Day. This day, which is commonly celebrated on the 14th of February, people give roses to their loved ones. Others would send roses together with sweet chocolates to convey romance and affection.

In Christian tradition, one of Virgin Mary’s titles is “Rosa Mystica” or Mystical Rose. That is why on the 8th of December, white roses are offered to Mary and to all mothers in Portugal and Spain. Meanwhile, in France, the last Sunday of May is the time when families hold gatherings in which a cake decorated with red roses is dedicated to mothers.

In America, National Rose Month is celebrated every month of June. People who enjoy tending to, planting, and caring for these beautiful blooms hold various festivities on this month. In California, rose lovers have even united to build the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, which was inaugurated on March 1995. It holds 4,000 plants and more than 3,000 varieties of this incomparable flower.

On Father’s Day, red roses are given to fathers. On Mother’s Day, many children send roses (usually a dozen of them) to express their love and gratitude. Husbands usually give two dozen roses to their beloved spouses to say, “I belong to you”. For the less extravagant, a simple long-stemmed rose is enough to say, “I love you” or “Thank you”. In some cultures, people send yellow roses to their friends as a birthday present.

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