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How Roses became the Symbol of Valentine's Day

3 min read

Roses have long been associated with romantic love and beauty. As Valentine’s Day grew in popularity, the rose emerged as its most recognisable symbol.



To understand the meaning behind the beautiful rose you need to go back to ancient times where it all began...

Ancient Greece - Aphrodite, the creator of the rose.

The earliest references to roses in human literature come from the ancient Greeks, where roses were described as being synonymous with beauty and love.

According to Greek mythology, the Goddess of love Aphrodite, created the first rose.

When her lover Adonis was mortally wounded, his blood and tears mixed as they fell, creating red roses where they landed.

Later, when Aphrodite’s son Eros was married, roses were said to have bloomed across the land.

Ancient Rome - Cupid caused the first roses to bloom.

Like the Greeks, the ancient Romans also associated the rose with their Goddess of love, Venus.

According to mythology, when Venus's son Cupid spilled sweet nectar while delivering it to the Gods on Mount Olympus, roses grew where it fell.

One Roman God, Zephyrus, even transformed himself into a rose in an effort to seduce Flora, the Goddess of flowers.

The rose also had symbolic meaning in everyday life for Romans, with a wild rose placed on the door outside of a room meaning that secret matters were being discussed inside.

Ancient Egypt - Cleopatra's tool of seduction.

In Ancient Egyptian mythology, Isis, the Goddess of magic and life, was strongly associated with the rose, which symbolised love and passion.

Famously, Cleopatra is said to have covered the floors of her palace chamber with thousands of rose petals in an effort to seduce Marc Antony.

She wanted him to associate her with the beautiful fragrance of the rose and to think of her every time he saw one.

Religion - Vishnu created Lakshmi from rose petals.

Roses have been part of religious stories for thousands of years, almost always synonymous with beauty and love.

 According to Hindu legend, Vishnu, the God of protection, believed that roses were the most beautiful of all flowers and he is said to have created his bride Lakshmi from rose petals.

Roses were part of the Bible too, with Adam and Eve described as being surrounded by thorn-less roses in the Garden of Eden.

The language of flowers - red roses, an expression of passion, beauty and romantic love

For thousands of years flowers have been said to have individual meanings, with this system first attributed to the ancient Persians.

Under this system, the red rose was associated with passion, beauty and romantic love.

The language of flowers became popular across much of Europe during the 18th century, particularly in Victorian England where public displays of affection were considered inappropriate.

Lovers used flowers to send messages that they weren’t permitted to say out loud.

Over thousands of years humans have developed a strong relationship with the rose, so much so that it is impossible to imagine a celebration of love without it.

If you are hoping to capture the heart of your love this Valentine’s Day, there is no better way to do so than with that classic symbol of love, a red rose.

Interflora Australia has been operating across our country since 1954. Originally based in Adelaide, South Australia, we now operate out of Interflora House in Melbourne, Victoria. Interflora Australia is 100% Australian owned - via a licensing agreement, issued to us from Interflora in the United Kingdom...