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The Meaning of Red Roses

The History and Meaning of Red Roses by

Everyone knows that a red rose is a symbol of love and romance. The bright red color evokes the color of heart-blood and the flower’s pristine beauty reflects the beauty of the person who’s receiving it. But roses have been around for some 35 million years, and their symbolism stretches far beyond their current romantic associations.

Religious symbolism

Early Christians equated the five petals of a wild rose with the five wounds of Christ. But the early church wasn’t sure it wanted to associate the rosa sancta with the decadent Romans. Eventually they declared the red rose a symbol of the blood of the martyrs (in early Christianity, there were many). In some Catholic countries, red and white roses together evoke blood and are used in funeral arrangements.

Greek and Roman mythology linked red roses with their respective goddesses of love and romance, Aphrodite and Venus. Archaeologists have found rose wreaths in tombs. Red roses were worn at weddings, essentially typecasting them for the future. But not all red roses have meant love.

Political symbolism

In the 15th century, the house of York and the house of Lancaster had what amounted to a civil war as they fought for control of the throne. There was no “United Kingdom” back then, and the bloody war came to be called the War of the Roses. Why? Because Lancaster used a red rose as its symbol, and York used the white rose. Even today, these symbols live on as the emblem of each county, as does the memory of the war in a not-altogether joking kind of way.

In a rather smart political move, Henry VII of Lancaster, who was the last English monarch to gain a throne on the battlefield, married Elizabeth of York. Their son, Henry VIII, merged both roses into the Tudor Rose, the Rose of England.

Emergence of the cultivated rose

It may surprise you that the rose as we know it didn’t really start to gain popularity until the late 1700s. These roses came over from China. Breeders created hybrids between the red and yellow Chinese flowers and wild roses. From these were developed tea roses that flowered for months, not just during the summer, tea roses, climbing roses and many more.

During hybridization and breeding, large, amazing blossoms were created–but the delicious, heady aroma of roses was lost. Recently, rose growers have attempted to recreate these older roses and produce healthier plants also.

Red roses and romance

And so we turn back to the romantic symbolism of red roses. A single red rose is a pure symbol of love, exquisite in its simplicity and purity. A dozen roses means that you’re thinking of someone all your waking hours. Two dozen? All day, every day.

A hundred? Well, we’ll leave that to your imagination! To send flowers to Bogota or any other city in Latin America please visit

The Power of Flowers

It’s been scientifically proven that flowers brighten up a person’s day. There’s just something about their natural beauty that uplifts and inspires. People who set up flowers in their bedroom or kitchen—the places you’ll visit first thing in the morning—report feeling less stressed out as they go to work or launch into their days.

Then there’s the psychological effect of having somebody send you flowers. It lets you know that they care about you and this can cheer you up no end. People who receive flowers in hospital or when they’re sick get the same benefits: Having something beautiful to look at along with the sense that someone is on their side speeds up healing.

In Minneapolis, there’s a Center for Victims of Torture that has at its heart a beautiful garden. The victims work and meditate in the garden and it gives them a focus and way to heal. The staff, who’ve been listening to horrific stories, go there to contemplate and unwind. Many of them end up being gardeners themselves, digging their unhappiness into the earth which can absorb and neutralize it. The cycle of flowers peeking up from the earth, rising from the dark, is deeply symbolic of the process of healing.

The different colors of flowers also have specific effects. Bright yellow can help you clear your mind and revive from burnout. Restful green helps you to relax, unwind and regain your balance. Blue, also, is a color of relaxation and peace, and can help you find the right words as well as learn.

Aromatherapy is a popular art and the scent of flowers helps too. Lavender is a relaxant and calms you down. Mint is refreshing and clean. Look into essential oils made from flowers to create a certain atmosphere in your home. Even the tiniest amount can make a huge difference to the emotional weather of your space. To send flowers to Bogota, Caracas, Lima, Buenos Aires or any other city in the Americas please visit us at