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Why Do Roses and Romance Go Together

By Ainsley Benbow

Everyone knows that roses are the symbol of romance and that they symbolise love… but why? Roses have always been associated with Valentine’s Day, especially red roses.

There are many stories, historic recordings and myths about how red roses have become the true symbol, alongside the love heart, of Valentine’s Day and love.

Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, there have been two versions of how the red rose came into existence as a symbol of love and, in both of them, it was believed that the red roses were created by the goddess of love, Aphrodite.

One version is that while Aphrodite was walking through a rose garden, that had earlier been shot with an arrow by Cupid, she injured herself on a thorn because of Cupid’s arrow, and her blood fell onto the petals, staining it red.

The second version is that when Aphrodite’s mortal lover, Adonis died, a white anemone grew where he had died, but then a red rose grew where Aphrodite’s tears fell. This then leads to the red rose symbolising love until death.

Ancient Romans

Legends about the ancient Romans indicate wealthy Romans associated red roses with beauty and love. They would have them in their bathrooms and bedrooms, and rose petals were spread to release their comforting scent.

This soon became a symbol of desire and secrecy in Roman Mythology. Roman emperors were known for filling their bathtubs with rose petals and using them as confetti for celebrations.

Early Christians

Early Christians viewed the red rose as a representation of the Virgin Mary’s virtue. She is frequently referred to as the "mystical rose" or the "rose without thorns". Even the name "rosary" is taken from the rose, which appears frequently throughout history in the Christian religion as a symbol of chastity and faith.

Victorian Era

In the Victorian era, giving gifts on significant events like birthdays and other occasions became a way for people to express their feelings. Red roses have been associated with romance for a long time, and they symbolise passion and close, personal love.


Today, red roses are a universal emblem of love and romance. However, while deeper burgundy red roses signify enduring love, red is often connected with romance. If a red rosebud is given to you, this denotes that love is still in its infancy or bloom.

Perhaps this is why they are the favoured flower for Valentine’s day, showing the blooming of new love and showing affection to a special person.



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