What is more classic and romantic than a red rose? Almost everyone knows (or should know) that a brilliant bouquet of red roses is the perfect way to confess feelings of romantic love. Whether for an anniversary, wedding or Valentine’s Day, it is clear that the implication of passion, desire and above all love, is associated with red roses. So how did the red rose become what she is known for today?
What do the red roses symbolize?
It is probably safe to say there is no widespread or permanent symbol of love and beauty in Western culture as red roses.
Red roses often appear in poetry, literature, classical artworks, contemporary films and everywhere in between. The famous Scottish poet Robert Burns compared his love for a red rose in the poem Red, Red Rose and the “Soldiers” card in Alice in Wonderland lost their heads for the painting of white roses in red, just to name a few classics.
These fragrant flowers come in different shades of red, which also carry different symbolic meanings. For example, a bright red rose means romance, while burgund means a love that still has to be realized.
The history of red roses
The red rose began its famous symbolic history in Greek and Roman iconography, where it was tied to Aphrodite and Venus, the goddess of love. Later, in the early Christian era, it was associated with the virtue of the Virgin Mary. By the time Shakespeare was rolling around, the rose had already become a poetic standard that he, and later Gertrude Stein, used in her works. In its long history steeped in history, the red rose still rules as the ultimate symbol of passionate affection.