The Meaning of a rose has been attributed to flowers for thousands of years. In the Victorian era, it became popular to use flowers to send secretive messages. Proper etiquette prohibited outright flirtation and restricted conversations between different genders and social classes, so people often used flowers to communicate their feelings.
Most of the associations we have with the symbolism of rose colors stem from this time. A thoughtfully chosen bouquet of roses can still say more than words alone.
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Red Rose: Romantic Love
The red rose is a well-known symbol for romantic love and the most common flower given on Valentine’s Day. Poetry, literature, songs, and films portray men presenting women with red roses to show their adoration.
Red Most of the associations we have with the symbolism of rose colors stems from this time. A thoughtfully chosen bouquet of roses can still say more than words alone. They are often associated with the deep love that will stand the test of time.
The lyrics to Robert Burn’s song, ‘A Red, Red Rose’ speak of a love that will last ‘till a’ the seas gang dry And the rocks melt wi’ the sun.’ In the Victorian language of flowers, the red rose colors denote a true love stronger than thorns and can overcome all obstacles.
The red rose can also express sexual longing. Red is the color of blood and fire and is associated with intense feelings such as burning passion. In classic films, seductive women often dress in red with red lipstick and nail polish.
The link between red roses and sex is epitomized by a scene in the film ‘America Beauty,’ where red rose petals rain down on a nude young woman who is the object of the main character’s fantasies.
Yellow Rose: Hope
Yellow rose colors are the color of sunshine and therefore represent hope, joy, and optimism. As the sun rises every morning, they are especially associated with best wishes for new beginnings. They are given to new mothers, newlyweds, and graduates to congratulate them at the start of another chapter in their lives.
Yellow rose bouquets are sometimes used to apologize after an argument or mistake. In this case, they express the thought, ‘let’s put the misunderstanding behind us and start afresh.’ They are also frequently given as ‘get well’ bouquets to offer hope of speedy recovery and bring sunshine into the lives of the ill.
Traditionally, yellow ribbons were worn as a sign of hope as women waited for their men to come home from war. Today, yellow roses are still used to welcome home loved ones after a long absence. They symbolize the joy of reunion.
Yellow roses can also be used to say goodbye to someone leaving. They communicate the wish that a friend will be happy in their new home or new career.
Orange Rose Orange: Desire
Orange rose colors merge the burning flame of red with the bright sunshine of yellow. They represent the hope that companionship will blossom into romantic love. A man who gives a woman a bouquet of orange roses says, ‘I’m fascinated with you and want to know you better.
Orange roses are a more subtle way of indicating desire than red roses and can be offered to someone who has not yet expressed feelings for you. They are an appropriate gift on a first date.
Another traditional meaning of orange roses is pride and honor.
They can be given to congratulate someone on an accomplishment such as graduating, getting a promotion, or winning a contest. In this context, orange roses say, ‘I’m proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself.
Pink Rose: Affection
Pink rose colors are generally seen as the flower of sweet thoughts, good wishes, and gentle affection. They represent innocent, spiritual love. However, because pink is just a lighter shade of red, if exchanged between a man and a woman, a pink rose can indicate that they have the potential to be more than just friends.
Pink roses used in wedding bouquets represent calm, committed love and affection instead of the fiery passion of red roses.
Pink roses are also associated with beauty, refinement, and grace. Giving someone a pink rose can be a way of expressing your respect and esteem. Pink roses are used as tokens of lasting friendship and admiration when celebrating birthdays or anniversaries.
Another meaning attributed to them is gratitude. Pink rose Who traditionally gave bouquets to express heartfelt thanks.
White Rose White: Virtue
White rose colors are associated with sincerity, purity, and loyalty. The tradition of the white bridal bouquet began with Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840. At that time, the white rose indicated that the bride was a chaste virgin. In the language of flowers, a white rose said, ‘I am worthy of you’ and helped assure the groom that his bride would keep her wedding vows.
The white rose symbolizes the spiritual love felt by soul-mates as opposed to passionate physical love. During courtship, they can be given to assure that your affections are deeply heartfelt rather than shallow and lustful.
Because white roses are associated with spirituality, honor, and reverence, they are appropriate memorial flowers for a departed friend or relative. When displayed at the funeral of one’s spouse, they symbolize an eternal love stronger than death and the hope to be reunited in the afterlife.