The Rose flower meaning comes from its rich mythology, folklore and historical uses.
In fact roses are the most common and ancient flower across the world. The Rose flower comes from the genus Rosa which is of the Rosaceae family. Rosa in Latin means full of leaves.
In this blog lets explore the Rose flower in depth. We will get into the symbolic meaning and the meaning of different colours.
We will then get into the Rose birth flower. Its rich mythologies, folklore and history. Grab a drink while we take a deep dive into the fascinating world of Roses.
What does a rose flower symbolise?
The Rose flower symbolises balance, beauty and love. It is also a carrier of secrets and understanding and healing. The Rose flower falls under the dominion of the planet Jupiter, Venus, and Moon.
That’s not all the rich and long history of the flower gives its meaning further depth. Let’s explore the what the different colour of the rose flower mean and also the history and beliefs surrounding the flower.
Rose Flower Colour Meanings
Each Rose flower colour and combination of colours have their own meanings. Let’s look at some of them:
Black rose flower meaning : beauty, rebirth, rejuvenation, hatred, farewell, death and impending death.
Blue rose flower symbolism : attaining the impossible and mystery.
Blush rose flower meaning : if you love me you will discover it and if you love me you will find me out.
Burgundy rose flower symbolism : Unconscious beauty and Implicitly
Coral rose : Passion, Happiness, Enthusiasm and Desire.
Dark Crimson rose : mourning
Dark Pink rose : Thank You
Deep Red rose : Bashful and mourning
Dried White rose : Before the loss of innocence and Death
Green rose : Masculine Energy
Lavender rose : Love at first sight, Magic and Enchantment
Light Pink rose : Admiration
Orange rose flower meaning: Wonder, Pride, Passion, Fascination, Enthusiasm and Desire
Peach rose : Appreciation, Immortality, Let’s get together, Closing the deal, Modesty and Sincerity
Pink rose flower meaning: Perfect happiness, Joy, Gratitude, Passion, Please believe me, Grace and sweetness, Energy, Everlasting joy, Romance, You’re so loved, Youth, Thank You
Red rose flower meaning : Well done, I love you, Passion, Courage, Beauty, Desire, Job well done, Protection, Respect, Well done
Striped or Variegated rose : Warmth of heart, Love a first sight, Immediate affection
Violet rose : Special , Majestic, Love at first sight, Enchantment, Admiration, Deepest love
White rose flower meaning: You’re heavenly, I am worthy of you, Charm, Virtue, Innocence, Youthfulness, Silence, Secrecy
Yellow rose : Welcome back, Platonic love, Jealousy, Infidelity, Remember me, Friendship, Caring
Rose Flower Colour Combination meaning
Pink and White rose : I love you still and I always will
Red and White rose : Unity, Together
Orange and Yellow rose : Passionate thoughts
Red and Yellow rose : Congratulations, Joy, Happiness and Excitement
One Yellow rose and Eleven Red roses : Love and Passion
A fully bloomed single stem of any colour rose : I love you, Simplicity
Roses Birth Flower
The Rose flower happens to be one of the flowers under the dominion of various planets.
According to astrologers and alchemists the red roses are under the dominion of the planet Jupiter. Those make the perfect gift as Sagittarius birth flowers and Pisces birth flowers.
The variety of roses called Damask are under the dominion of the planet Venus. Those roses are perfect as Libra birth flowers and Taurus birth flowers.
Finally, the white roses fall under the dominion of the moon. They will make a perfect addition as Cancerian birth flowers.
Why is rose used for love?
Roses were an emblem of love for a very long time. This dates all the way back into mythology and medieval times.
However, it was the Victorians that would elevate the rose symbolism of love to new heights. They had developed a repertoire that was broad and could express love in all its forms.
The stronger the affection for another person the deeper the colour would follow suit.
The white coloured rose symbolised a young maiden while the crimson coloured rose symbolised passionate love. The Yellow roses on the other hand symbolised infidelity.
The rose buds and blooms where also symbolical of a woman’s journey from maiden to womanhood. Furthermore, it was also the maturing of love in the woman.
Therefore, the tender rosebud would be akin to a girl while a full bloom rose would be for a woman.
Rose Flower Greek Mythology
Adonis was the grandson of Pygmalion and he was raised by nymphs. He was very dear to the goddess Aphrodite.
The goddess would often accompany Adonis in his hunting which was one of his favourite things to do. She would also warn him about the needless dangers he enjoyed exposing himself to.
However, Adonis never heeded to her warnings. One day while hunting he encountered a wild boar. The boar started to run towards him and Adonis shot the animal but he missed his aim.
The boar raged towards him and tore the poor Adonis into pieces. Aphrodite became worried and went searching for him. She found him laying on the ground in a pool of blood.
She tried everything in her power to revive her lover but could not. Zeus took pity on the goddess and turned her tears and his blood into flowers.
The red roses sprang from the blood of Adonis while white wood Anemone sprang from the tears of the goddess.
Other Greek Mythologies
The goddess Cybele wanted revenge on Venus and this led to her creating the rose. The beauty of the rose was unmatched to that of the goddess Venus.
Another account linked to Venus states that at the time Venus was born the rose also sprang for the first time on earth.
The red roses were a symbol of the Dionysus the god of wine.
Yet another account links the rose to Eros and the god of silence. In very early times the rose then became a symbol of silence and the expression sub rosa refers to this myth.
Rose Flower Persian Legend
In an old Persian legend the Attar of Roses associates itself with the Caliph Jehangir.
The legends tells that one day the Caliph was taking a stroll with his newly wed wife in the palace gardens.
The luxurious palace gardens featured canals and fountains which were decked with rose petals in order to celebrate the wedding of the Caliph.
While walking the Caliph noticed that an oily film had formed on the surface of the waters. This was caused because of the sun’s interaction on the petals.
The scent of the fascinated him so much therefore, he ordered it to be bottled for later use.
This special attar of roses was henceforth considered as the most precious Persian perfumes.
Chinese Legend of the Blue Rose
In China there was a legend linking the blue rose and the daughter of an Emperor.
The daughter of the Emperor had a demand that she received a blue in exchange for asking her hand.
All of her prospective suitors couldn’t find a blue rose therefore, they tried to deceived her.
One of the blue roses presented to her was made a Sapphire which was a dyed specimen available at the florist.
Another one used an illusion that was conjured up by a wizard and whenever the empress touched the rose it would disappear.
This Chinese legend was reworked by Rudyard Kipling in his poem ‘Blue Roses’.
Cheekoree Legend of the Rose
In a legend from the Cherokees there was once a warrior called Tuswanaha who had just returned from a hunt.
Upon his return he found that his village had been destroyed and that his beloved called Dowansa was missing.
However, Dowansa was saved by the Nannshi tribe from the enemies but they transformed her into a white rose bush.
Both Marauders and Tuswanaha would trample Dowansa as a rose bush, she then begged the Nannshi’s to give her prickles in order to save herself.
Biblical Meaning of the Rose
During the Middle Ages, the rose was revered by Christians as a symbol of Mary.
In an English legend it was said that the blood of the Christ made the white roses red. Moreover, a German legend states that after Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit the rose became red.
Yet another German legend tells that all roses were originally red however, when Mary Magdalen wept for Christ, her tears fell on the a rose which bleached its petals.
Artists of Christian faith used the motif of the rose to symbolise paradise. This was perhaps inspired by the rose window of the Ibna Tulum mosque in Cairo. European architects used the idea and added it to Gothic cathedrals.
Sir John Maundeville once visited Bethlehem around the 14th century. In the of Floridus he found a fair maiden about to be burned after being unjustly accused.
The fair maiden prayed to God and when she entered the fire it was miraculously extinguished. The faggots that were burning became red rose bushes while those that remained unkindled became white rose bushed.
The Rose Flower in Islamic faith
There are various legends of the Rose flower in Islamic faith.
One of them revolves around the Prophet Muhammed. It was believed that the first rose came from the tear of the Prophet. However, other accounts claim that it might have been from the sweat of the Prophet.
Another legend tells the story of the rose flower and the nightingale. The flowers complained to Allah that the Lotus flower their queen slept through the night.
They pleaded to Allah to provide them with a new queen. Allah answered by creating a white rose and for protection gave her thorns.
The nightingale fell deeply in love with the white rose. It began flying towards it however, the thorns of the rose pierced the bird.
The white rose since then changed its colour from white to red.
The Rose plant has been cultivated for a very long time, however, only couple of varieties were cultivated namely ; the musk, the moss, cabbage rose, the gallica, alba and damask.
By 19th century there was an explosion of new varieties. Two of those were the yellow tea roses that came from China and had musky scent and Bourbon roses which came from France via Madagascar.
China may have been the first place where the rose plant was first cultivated around 2700 BCE. Confucius recorded around 500 BCE that the Emperor back then grew roses in Beijing.
Around the 1st millenium CE, the Chinese crossbred roses. While by 1815, the varieties cultivated in Europe were around 2,500.
In ancient Persia the Rosebush was so abundant that rose and flower were synonymous words. Then from Iran the rose spread into Turkey, Greece, Iraq, Syria and Palestine. It would spread to Arabia around the 7th century CE.
There was a fresco found in Crete which dates back to 1500 BCE and it contained images of roses which was perhaps the Rosa Gallica.
Greek poets also recorded the uses and beauty of the Rose flower. In 8th century BCE, the Greek poet Homer wrote that mourners of Achilles anointed his corpse with rose oil.
The Greek poet Sappho called the rose the “queen of flowers.” The poet Pindar recorded that Athenians wore wreaths of roses. Herodotus on the other hand noted that the roses of King Midas were more fragrant that other varieties.
Rose Flower in History
Around the 12th century, the Arabs cultivated Rose x bifera in Spain. And this double rose variety spread from the Near East, China and Indian to Europe.
Saladin Sultan of Egypt and Syria applied the rose water to the Omar Mosque in Jerusalem when it was conquered from the Crusaders in 1187.
The Rose water was again used as cleansing by Sultan Mohamed II in Istanbul Turkey on a mosque when it was conquered in 1453.
The War of the Roses in the 15th century acquired its named from the roses of the competing houses for the English throne. The House of York had the white rose as a symbol. While the House of Lancaster had the red Rose as a symbol.
The House of Tudor who emerged victorious from this war had a small white rose on top of a large red rose.
The garden of Empress Josephine might have been the largest collection of roses in the 19th century.
Rose Flower Uses and Benefits
In ancient times many great homes had plaster ceilings featuring the rose flower as a central ornament. It was a reminder that matters spoken at the table shouldn’t be repeated outside of the room.
The Rose flower has a lot of medicinal uses for example the rose water was used to ease depression but also nervous tensions. It was believed that it works on the four bodies that is spiritual, physical, emotional and mental.
It was also used to soothe various ailments such as calming nausea, soothing a headache, enhancing the immune system and relieving shock.
The Rose water combined with honey made a great coughing syrup, this remedy was mostly used by the Arab physician Avicenna.
Additionally, it was used to treat conjunctivitis. It was also an antiseptic.
The rose hips were also found to be high in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, pectin and tannin.
Rose flower Divination
The Rose flower also held meaning and uses in the form of divination. Let’s discover some:
When you dream of a red rose it foretells success in love. However, if you dream of a withered rose it meant misfortune. Moreover, a superstition in Kentucky states that dreaming of a white rose was bad luck.
In the past girls would take a rose flower then name each leaf after a suitor. They would then proceed to sink the flower in a bucket of water and watch which leaf sank last. The last leaf that sank would be their future husband.
They would alternatively place the rose under their pillow on Midsummer Eve. It was believed that their future husband would then appear in their dreams.
There was yet another form of divination used by girls. They would pick a rose at Midsummer then they would proceed to fold it in a paper. Moreover, they had to carry the paper until Christmas Day to church and the man that would successfully take it from her would be her husband.
Roses flower Beliefs
Aside from love roses also hold a connection with death. This goes as far back to ancient Greece. They would use roses at funerals but also decorate the tombs with them, it was believed that the roses protected the remains of the dead.
The Roman also held the same beliefs as the Greeks, they even celebrated Rosalia which was a festival of the dead.
In Wales there was a custom to plant a white rose on the grave of women that were unmarried. Similarly, in England there was a custom that a young girl would walk before the coffin of a virgin while carrying a wreath of white roses.
In Hampshire at the Church of Abbot’s Ann features paper or linen roses hung with maidens garlands. The earliest record of the garland is from 1716.
It was such a common custom in Switzerland too that some cemeteries were often called rose gardens.
In the West of Scotland there was a belief that if a white rose bloomed in autumn then it would be the early death of someone. However, if it was a red rose that bloomed then it would be the sign of an early marriage. But if the red rose petals were to fall it is was being worn or carried then it would be an omen of death.
There was a Welsh belief that if a summer rose were to bloom in the months of November or December then it would be a sign of trouble and also bad luck.
In various regions throwing the leaves of roses on fire was believed to attract good luck. However, in Italy the belief was to scatter them on the ground. If those it was a red rose then it would be unlucky and also result in an early death.
Another belief in Dorset was smelling white roses would be disastrous for health while smelling red roses would be beneficial.
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Deena Bsingh, a UK-born, Mauritius-raised content writer, is a dedicated explorer of the ancient world’s hidden treasures. Armed with classical studies knowledge and a decade of spiritual immersion, Deena delves deep into the wellspring of ancient wisdom. Her illuminating writings on flower meanings and culinary history are imbued with the profound insights she has gathered on her journey. Through her Medium articles, she guides readers on transformative journeys that bridge the gap between ancient cultures and contemporary consciousness, offering a rich tapestry of understanding that endures through time.