How Roses Became A Symbol Of Love

If you are looking for luxury roses for a loved one, you will be doing so knowing full well that this will be received as a loving, romantic gesture, especially if they are red.

However, some may be curious as to how this came about. Have roes always been seen as romantic? What did people who lived in parts of the world without roses do before?  And why did roses gain this romantic status?

Some date the use of roses in this way to the Victorians, where the common use of flowers to express feelings without words emerged. However, the picture may be more complex than that.

It is certainly true that before this the use of roses was far from always romantic; one only has to think of the symbols of identity between those 15th century rivals for the throne of England the House of Lancaster (red rose) and House of York (white rose). Their battles were known as the ‘Wars of the Roses’ and the respective colours remain the symbols of Lancashire and Yorkshire today.

However, there are cases going much further back into history where roses are associated with love and romance. For example, the Greek goddess Aphrodite was often deposited as wearing a crown of red roses, while the Romans created a practice of hanging roses in secret meeting places. Combine these two and you can see where the Victorians, so well versed in the classics, got the idea from.

Underpinning all this is the fact that red is a powerful colour that can symbolise love, sex and romance. That may not be everything a red rose represents, not least when it has been the symbol of Lancashire, England and even the Labour Party. But it has a deep-rooted appeal that is far more universal than the parochial expressions of local, national or political identities.